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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Mitochondrial electron transport inhibitors cause lipid peroxidation-dependent and -independent cell death: protective role of antioxidants.

Mitochondrial electron transport inhibitors induced two distinct pathways for acute cell death: lipid peroxidation-dependent and -independent in isolated rat hepatocytes. The toxic effects of mitochondrial complex I and II inhibitors, rotenone (ROT) and thenoyltrifluoroacetone (TTFA), respectively, were dependent on oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation, while cell death induced by inhibitors of complexes III and IV, antimycin A (AA) and cyanide (CN), respectively, was caused by MMP collapse and loss of cellular ATP. Accordingly, cellular and mitochondrial antioxidant depletion or supplementation, in general, resulted in a dramatic potentiation or prevention, respectively, of toxic injury induced by complex I and II inhibitors, with little or no effect on complex III and IV inhibitor-induced toxicity. ROT-induced oxidative stress was prevented by the addition of d-alpha-tocopheryl succinate (TS) but surprisingly TS did not afford hepatocytes protection against TTFA-induced oxidative damage. TS treatment prevented ROT-induced mitochondrial lipid hydroperoxide formation but had no effect on the loss of mitochondrial GSH or cellular ATP, suggesting a mitochondrial lipid peroxidation-mediated mechanism for ROT-induced acute cell death. In contrast, only fructose treatment provided excellent cytoprotection against AA- and CN-induced toxicity. Our findings indicate that complex III and IV inhibitors cause a rapid and severe depletion of cellular ATP content resulting in acute cell death that is dependent on cellular energy impairment but not lipid peroxidation. In contrast, inhibitors of mitochondrial complex I or II moderately deplete cellular ATP levels and thus cause acute cell death via a lipid peroxidation pathway.[1]


  1. Mitochondrial electron transport inhibitors cause lipid peroxidation-dependent and -independent cell death: protective role of antioxidants. Zhang, J.G., Tirmenstein, M.A., Nicholls-Grzemski, F.A., Fariss, M.W. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. (2001) [Pubmed]
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