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J Cell Biol. 2004 Aug 16;166(4):527-36.

In vivo monitoring of Ca(2+) uptake into mitochondria of mouse skeletal muscle during contraction.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Sciences, Institute of Neurosciences, University of Padua, Viale G. Colombo 3, I-35121 Padua, Italy.


Although the importance of mitochondria in patho-physiology has become increasingly evident, it remains unclear whether these organelles play a role in Ca(2+) handling by skeletal muscle. This undefined situation is mainly due to technical limitations in measuring Ca(2+) transients reliably during the contraction-relaxation cycle. Using two-photon microscopy and genetically expressed "cameleon" Ca(2+) sensors, we developed a robust system that enables the measurement of both cytoplasmic and mitochondrial Ca(2+) transients in vivo. We show here for the first time that, in vivo and under highly physiological conditions, mitochondria in mammalian skeletal muscle take up Ca(2+) during contraction induced by motor nerve stimulation and rapidly release it during relaxation. The mitochondrial Ca(2+) increase is delayed by a few milliseconds compared with the cytosolic Ca(2+) rise and occurs both during a single twitch and upon tetanic contraction.

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