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Free Radical Biology and Medicine
Original Item ID
Mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with various forms of lung injury and disease that also involve alterations in pulmonary endothelial permeability, but the relationship, if any, between the two is not well understood. This question was addressed by perfusing isolated intact rat lung with a buffered physiological saline solution in the absence or presence of the mitochondrial complex I inhibitor rotenone (20 μM). Compared to control, rotenone depressed whole lung tissue ATP from 5.66±0.46 (SEM) to 2.34±0.15 µmol·g−1 dry lung, with concomitant increases in the ADP:ATP and AMP:ATP ratios. Rotenone also increased lung perfusate lactate (from 12.36±1.64 to 38.62±3.14 µmol·15 min−1 perfusion·g−1 dry lung) and the lactate:pyruvate ratio, but had no detectable impact on lung tissue GSH:GSSG redox status. The amphipathic quinone coenzyme Q1 (CoQ1; 50 μM) mitigated the impact of rotenone on the adenine nucleotide balance, wherein mitigation was blocked by NAD(P)H-quinone oxidoreductase 1 or mitochondrial complex III inhibitors. In separate studies, rotenone increased the pulmonary vascular endothelial filtration coefficient (Kf) from 0.043±0.010 to 0.156±0.037 ml·min−1·cm H2O−1·g−1 dry lung, and CoQ1 protected against the effect of rotenone on Kf. A second complex I inhibitor, piericidin A, qualitatively reproduced the impact of rotenone on Kf and the lactate:pyruvate ratio. Taken together, the observations imply that pulmonary endothelial barrier integrity depends on mitochondrial bioenergetics as reflected in lung tissue ATP levels and that compensatory activation of whole lung glycolysis cannot protect against pulmonary endothelial hyperpermeability in response to mitochondrial blockade. The study further suggests that low-molecular-weight amphipathic quinones may have therapeutic utility in protecting lung barrier function in mitochondrial insufficiency.