Send to

Choose Destination
Arch Biochem Biophys. 2001 Feb 1;386(1):37-51.

Palmitic acid opens a novel cyclosporin A-insensitive pore in the inner mitochondrial membrane.

Author information

Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore 21201, USA.


An assortment of agents can induce mitochondria to undergo a permeability transition, which results in the inner mitochondrial membrane becoming nonselectively permeable to small (<1500 Da) solutes. This mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT) is characterized by a strict dependence on matrix Ca2+ and sensitivity to cyclosporin A (CsA). However, it is becoming increasingly clear that other experimental conditions can elicit increases in mitochondrial permeability that are distinct from this classic MPT. For example, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT; Sokolove, P. M., and Haley, L. M. (1996) J. Bioenerg. Biomembr. 28, 199-206) and signal peptides (Sokolove, P. M., and Kinnally, K. W. (1996) Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 336, 69-76) promote increases in mitochondrial permeability that are CsA-insensitive. It has been suggested (Gudz, T., Eriksson, O., Kushnareva, Y., Saris, N.-E., and Novgorodov, S. A. (1997) Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 342, 143-156) that BHT might be opening a CsA-insensitive pore by increasing phospholipase A2 activity and thereby producing an accumulation of free fatty acids and lysophospholipids. We have therefore examined the effect of the saturated free fatty acid, palmitic acid (PA), on the permeability of isolated rat liver mitochondria. The following results were obtained: (1) In the absence of additional triggers, PA (20-60 microM) induced concentration-dependent, CsA-insensitive mitochondrial swelling. (2) Swelling required mitochondrial energization. (3) PA-induced swelling was fast and occurred without a lag. (4) Both Ca2+ and Sr2+ supported PA-induced swelling; the site of cation action was the matrix. (5) EGTA and BSA were potent inhibitors of PA-induced swelling. (6) PA opened a pore rather than disrupting mitochondrial membrane structure. (7) The pore opened by PA closed spontaneously. These results suggest that palmitic acid promotes a nonclassic permeability increase that is clearly distinguishable from the occurrence of the MPT.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center