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Panov A.,Carolinas Neuromuscular ALS Research Laboratory | Kubalik N.,Carolinas Neuromuscular ALS Research Laboratory | Brooks B.R.,Carolinas Neuromuscular ALS Research Laboratory | Shaw C.A.,University of British Columbia
Journal of Membrane Biology | Year: 2010

The cluster of neurodegenerative disorders in the western Pacific termed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-parkinsonism dementia complex (ALS-PDC) has been repeatedly linked to the use of seeds of various species of cycad. Identification and chemical synthesis of the most toxic compounds in the washed cycad seeds, a variant phytosteryl glucosides, and even more toxic cholesterol β-d-glucoside (CG), which is produced by the human parasite Helicobacter pylori, provide a possibility to study in vitro the mechanisms of toxicity of these compounds. We studied in detail the effects of CG on the respiratory activities and generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by nonsynaptic brain and heart mitochondria oxidizing various substrates. The stimulatory effects of CG on respiration and ROS generation showed strong substrate dependence, suggesting involvement of succinate dehydrogenase (complex II). Maximal effects on ROS production were observed with 1 μmol CG/1 mg mitochondria. At this concentration the cycad toxins β-sitosterol-β-d-glucoside and stigmasterol-β-d-glucoside had effects on respiration and ROS production similar to CG. However, poor solubility precluded full concentration analysis of these toxins. Cholesterol, stigmasterol and β-sitosterol had no effect on mitochondrial functions studied at concentrations up to 100 μmol/mg protein. Our results suggest that CG may influence mitochondrial functions through changes in the packing of the bulk membrane lipids, as was shown earlier by Deliconstantinos et al. (Biochem Cell Biol 67:16-24, 1989). The neurotoxic effects of phytosteryl glucosides and CG may be associated with increased oxidative damage of neurons. Unlike heart mitochondria, in activated neurons mitochondria specifically increase ROS production associated with succinate oxidation (Panov et al., J Biol Chem 284:14448-14456, 2009). © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Panov A.V.,Carolinas Neuromuscular ALS Research Laboratory | Kubalik N.,Carolinas Neuromuscular ALS Research Laboratory | Zinchenko N.,Carolinas Neuromuscular ALS Research Laboratory | Ridings D.M.,Carolinas Neuromuscular ALS Research Laboratory | And 5 more authors.
American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology | Year: 2011

Mitochondrial dysfunctions contribute to neurodegeneration, the locations of which vary among neurodegenerative diseases. To begin to understand what mechanisms may underlie higher vulnerability of the spinal cord motor neurons in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, compared with brain mitochondria, we studied three major functions of rat brain mitochondria (BM) and spinal cord mitochondria (SCM) mitochondria: oxidative phosphorylation, Ca2+ sequestration, and production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), using a new metabolic paradigm (Panov et al., J. Biol. Chem. 284: 14448-14456, 2009). We present data that SCM share some unique metabolic properties of the BM. However, SCM also have several distinctions from the BM: 1) With the exception of succinate, SCM show significantly lower rates of respiration with all substrates studied; 2) immunoblotting analysis showed that this may be due to 30-40% lower contents of respiratory enzymes and porin; 3) compared with BM, SCM sequestered 40-50% less Ca2+, and the total tissue calcium content was 8 times higher in the spinal cord; 4) normalization for mitochondria from 1 g of tissue showed that BM can sequester several times more Ca2+ than was available in the brain tissue, whereas SCM had the capacity to sequester only 10-20% of the total tissue Ca2+; and 5) with succinate and succinate-containing substrate mixtures, SCM showed significantly higher state 4 respiration than BM and generated more ROS associated with the reverse electron transport. We conclude that SCM have an intrinsically higher risk of oxidative damage and overload with calcium than BM, and thus spinal cord may be more vulnerable under some pathologic conditions. © 2011 the American Physiological Society.

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