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Toxicol In Vitro. 2003 Oct-Dec;17(5-6):745-51.

A new method for in vitro detection of microbially produced mitochondrial toxins.

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University of Helsinki, Department of Applied Chemistry and Microbiology, Division of Microbiology, PO Box 56, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland.


Sperm motility inhibition assay, earlier shown valuable for the detection of food poisoning non-protein toxins of Bacillus species was developed into an assay useful for specific detection of mitochondria damaging toxins. This was done by assessing the dissipation of the mitochondrial inner membrane transmembrane potential, Deltapsim under conditions where the plasma membrane permeability barrier remained intact. The Deltapsim was estimated as the intensity of orange JC-1 fluorescence in the mitochondrial sheath of the exposed spermatozoa. The plasma membrane integrity of the same cells was assessed by observing the exclusion of propidium iodide from the cytoplasm. Three types of mitochondrial toxic responses to microbially made bioactive substances were recognised. Mitochondrial toxicity by gramicidin (A, B, C, D), nigericin, salinomycin, narasin, monensin, calcimycin and antimycin A was characterised by gradual fading of the JC-1 fluorescence in the mitochondria. Dissipation of the Deltapsim by cereulide, valinomycin and enniatin (A, A1, B, B1) was visible as spotwise quenching of the mitochondrial JC-1 fluorescence. In addition these substances caused hyperpolarisation of the plasma membrane. Oligomycin (A, B, C), ionomycin and staurosporine inhibited the spermatozoan motility, but Deltapsim was fully preserved. Surfactin and lichenysin A caused mitochondrial damage at concentrations where the plasma membrane was also damaged.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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