In the past few years it has become apparent that mitochondria have an essential role in the life and death of neuronal and non-neuronal cells. The central mitochondrial bioenergetic parameter is the protonmotive force, Δp. Much research has focused on the monitoring of the major component of Δp, the mitochondrial membrane potential Δψ(m), in intact neurones exposed to excitotoxic stimuli, in the hope of establishing the causal relationships between cell death and mitochondrial dysfunction. Several fluorescent techniques have been used, and this article discusses their merits and pitfalls. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.
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