Ultrastructural heterogeneity of the mitochondrial population in rat embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells

Lyubov A. Suldina, Anastasiya E. Sorokina, Ksenia N. Morozova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Even though rats are popular model animals, the ultrastructure of their pluripotent cells, that is, embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), remains unexplored, although fine structure of pluripotent stem cells of mice and humans and its changes during differentiation have been investigated well. In the present study, we carried out ultrastructural and morphometric analyses of three lines of rat ESCs and two lines of rat iPSCs. The rat pluripotent stem cells were found to have the main typical morphological features of pluripotent cells: large nuclei of irregular or nearly round shape, scanty cytoplasm with few membrane organelles, and a poorly developed Golgi apparatus and endoplasmic reticulum. The cytoplasm of the rat pluripotent cells contains clusters of glycogen, previously described in human ESCs. To identify possible differences between rat ESCs and iPSCs, we performed a morphometric analysis of cell parameters. The mean area of cells and nuclei, the nuclear/cytoplasmic ratio, distributions of glycogen and diversity of mitochondria showed marked variations among the lines of rat pluripotent stem cells and were more pronounced than variations between rat ESCs and iPSCs as separate types of pluripotent stem cells. We noted morphological heterogeneity of the mitochondrial population in the rat pluripotent stem cells. The cells contained three types of mitochondria differing in the structure of cristae and in matrix density, and our morphometric analysis revealed differences in cristae structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2238-2250
Number of pages13
JournalCell Biology International
Issue number11
Early online date21 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • condensed mitochondria
  • electron microscopy
  • glycogen
  • orthodox mitochondria
  • rat ESC
  • rat iPSC




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