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J Bioenerg Biomembr. 1997 Jun;29(3):241-9.

ADP-regulation of mitochondrial free radical production is different with complex I- or complex II-linked substrates: implications for the exercise paradox and brain hypermetabolism.

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  • 1Department of Animal Biology-II (Animal Physiology), Faculty of Biology, Complutense University, Madrid, Spain.


In agreement with classic studies, succinate-supplemented rat and pigeon heart and nonsynaptic brain mitochondrial free radical production is stopped by ADP additions causing the stimulation of respiration from State 4 to State 3. Nevertheless, with Complex I-linked substrates, mitochondria produce free radicals in State 3 at rates similar or somewhat higher than during resting respiration. The absence of sharp increases in free radical production during intense respiration is possible due to strong decreases of free radical leak in State 3. The results indicate that Complex I is the main mitochondrial free radical generator in State 3, adding to its already known important generation of active oxygen species in State 4. The observed rate of mitochondrial free radical production with Complex I-linked substrates in the active State 3 can help to explain two paradoxes: (a) the lack of massive muscle oxidative damage and shortening of life span due to exercise, in spite of up to 23-fold increases of oxygen consumption together with the very low levels of antioxidants present in heart, skeletal muscle, and brain; (b) the presence of some degree of oxidative stress during exercise and hyperactivity in spite of the stop of mitochondrial free radical production by ADP with succinate as substrate.

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