Do Muscle Cells Have Mitochondria? 7 Facts You Should Know

Every cell needs energy to perform their function. Let us see whether muscle cells contain the “energy currency”, that is, mitochondria in them or not.

Muscle cells contains mitochondria as they are involved in physical contractions and require large amount of energy. Almost all cells of the body contains mitochondria. To carry out functions in the body, each cell needs energy in the form of ATP which is fulfilled by mitochondria.

Other metabolic pathways which a cell uses produce only a few amount of energy which will not compensate the cell needs. Therefore, cell is mainly dependent on the mitochondria for large energy production.

Let us discuss in detail about mitochondria in muscle cells, their number and location in muscle cell, their role and many more facts around it.

Why do muscle cells have mitochondria?

Mitochondria are the energy currency of the cell. Let us explore why it is required by muscle cells.

Muscle cells have mitochondria to accommodate the energy demand. Skeletal muscles’ rate of energy consumption has the potential to virtually instantaneously rise by more than 100 times. Therefore, muscle cells contain mitochondria.

Where is mitochondria found in a muscle cell?

Mitochondria are present in every cell of eukaryotes. Let us find out the exact location of mitochondria in muscle cells.

Mitochondria is mainly found at peripheral and intermyofibril regions of skeletal muscle. When compared to mitochondria in the periphery, intermyofibrillar mitochondria in human muscles have about twice the aspect ratio, giving rise to morphologies with high surface-to-volume ratios.

Role of mitochondria in muscle cell

Mitochondria performs various functions in the body. Let us discover its role in the muscle cell.

The crucial role played by mitochondria in a muscle cell is to produce ATP (i.e., phosphorylation of ADP), the cellular energy currency, through cell respiration, and to control cellular metabolism. Because mitochondria can give muscle the energy it needs for mechanical tasks.

How many mitochondria are found in a muscle cell?

Mitochondria are more prevalent in those cells which has more physical movement.  Let us explore how many mitochondria does muscle cell contain.

The skeletal muscle cell can have upto 30,000 mitochondria per cell. Cardiac muscle cell contain around 7000 mitochondria per cell. The number of mitochondria in different muscle cell varies according to their energy requirement.

Why do muscle cells have many mitochondria?

Depending on a cell’s need for energy, the number of mitochondria varies greatly. Let us find out why muscle cells have many mitochondria.

Number of mitochondria are more prevalent in muscle cells to compensate the energy requirements. Muscle cells specially cardiac and skeletal muscles contract most of time and require lots of energy.

Human heart, kidney, pancreatic, and muscle cells all have hundreds or even thousands of mitochondria during aerobic respiration.

Why muscle cells are more dependent on mitochondrial respiratory chain than glycolysis?

Cells obtain their energy from glycolysis and mitochondrial respiration. Let us explore why muscle cells prefer mitochondrial respiration than glycolysis.

Muscle cells require a disproportionately high amount of mitochondria compared to other cell types because of their comparatively high energy requirements. Because of the low efficiency of glycolysis, cells that need a lot of energy to function predominantly produces ATP through the respiratory chain.  

What is the role of mitochondria in exercise?

The cardiac muscles and skeletal muscles need additional energy. Let us investigate what role does mitochondria play during exercise.

During exercise, skeletal muscles require continuous energy supply. To make sure this demand is met, mitochondria build extensive networks within skeletal muscle cells, and they can perform better during exercise. Energy must be produced and distributed properly for skeletal muscles to continue working.

Exercise-induced factors may improve skeletal muscle performance include increased respiratory supercomplex formation, morphological adaptations, and mitochondrial biogenesis.

How exercise influences mitochondria in muscle cells?

Exercise helps in muscle growth. Let us explore how exercise influences mitochondria in muscle cells.

During intense exercise, mitochondria go through a number of re-modelling processes in response to the energy demands placed on the cell. These changes include de novo mitochondrial biogenesis, mitochondrial fusion, and fragmentation of damaged organelles in preparation for autophagosome degradation .

All these process are activated by exercise whether it be short-term or long-term. The overall amount of muscle mitochondria increases as a result of mitochondrial biogenesis. Higher energy demands cause immediate morphological changes in mitochondria, which may in fact control long-term mitochondrial bioenergetics and support mitochondrial functions.


To wrap up this post, we conclude that muscle cells contain mitochondria. The large number of mitochondria are present in all muscle cells because muscle cells are involved in physical contractions. Mitochondria in muscle cells are present at the peripheral as well as intermyofibril region. Number of mitochondria in each muscle cell can vary according to their physical activity.  

Saif Ali

Hi, I am Saif Ali. I obtained my Master's degree in Microbiology and have one year of research experience in water microbiology from  National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee. Antibiotic resistant microorganisms and soil bacteria, particularly PGPR, are my areas of interest and expertise. Currently, I'm focused on developing antibiotic alternatives. I'm always trying to discover new things from my surroundings.  My goal is to provide readers with easy-to-understand microbiology articles. If you have a bug, treat it with caution and avoid using antibiotics to combat SUPERBUGS. Let's connect via LinkedIn:

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