Development and age-associated differences in electron transport potential and consequences for oxidant generation

Robert G. Allen, Bart P. Keogh, Maria Tresini, Glenn S. Gerhard, Craig Volker, Robert J. Pignolo, Joseph Horton, Vincent J. Cristofalo

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25 Scopus citations


We determined the activities of NADH dehydrogenase (ND), succinate dehydrogenase, and cytochrome c oxidase (COX) in 29 skin fibroblast lines established from donors ranging in age from 12 gestational weeks to 94 years. The results of this study demonstrate that all three of the enzyme activities examined are greater in adult-derived fibroblasts than in the fetal cell lines. The ratio of enzyme activities that control electron entry into and exit from the electron transport chain varied directly with lucigenin- detected chemiluminescence (an indicator of O2/- generation) and inversely with H2O2 generation. These results indicate a clear difference in the predominant oxidant species generated during fetal and adult stages of life. We also examined the mRNA abundances of different components of the electron transport chain complexes. We observed higher abundances of mitochondrial encoded mRNAs (COX 1 and ND 4) in cell lines established from adults than in fetal cells. No differences in the mRNA abundances of the nuclear encoded sequences (COX 4 and ND 51) were observed in fetal and postnatal-derived lines. Succinate dehydrogenase mRNA abundance was greater in cell lines established from postnatal donors than in fetal cell lines. No significant differences between cell lines established from young and old adults were detected in any of the parameters examined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24805-24812
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number40
StatePublished - Oct 3 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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