Mitochondrial Function and Cell Size: An Allometric Relationship

Teemu P. Miettinen (Lead / Corresponding author), Mikael Björklund (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Allometric scaling of metabolic rate results in lower total mitochondrial oxygen consumption with increasing organismal size. This is considered a universal law in biology. Here, we discuss how allometric laws impose size-dependent limits to mitochondrial activity at the cellular level. This cell-size-dependent mitochondrial metabolic activity results in nonlinear scaling of metabolism in proliferating cells, which can explain size homeostasis. The allometry in mitochondrial activity can be controlled through mitochondrial fusion and fission machinery, suggesting that mitochondrial connectivity can bypass transport limitations, the presumed biophysical basis for allometry. As physical size affects cellular functionality, cell-size-dependent metabolism becomes directly relevant for development, metabolic diseases, and aging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-402
Number of pages10
JournalTrends in Cell Biology
Issue number6
Early online date8 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • Journal article
  • Review

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