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Methods. 2008 Dec;46(4):312-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2008.10.001. Epub 2008 Oct 16.

Mitochondrial function in vivo: spectroscopy provides window on cellular energetics.

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Department of Radiology, University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


Mitochondria integrate the key metabolic fluxes in the cell. This role places this organelle at the center of cellular energetics and, hence, mitochondrial dysfunction underlies a growing number of human disorders and age-related degenerative diseases. Here we present novel analytical and technical methods for evaluating mitochondrial metabolism and (dys)function in human muscle in vivo. Three innovations involving advances in optical spectroscopy (OS) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) permit quantifying key compounds in energy metabolism to yield mitochondrial oxidation and phosphorylation fluxes. The first of these uses analytical methods applied to optical spectra to measure hemoglobin (Hb) and myoglobin (Mb) oxygenation states and relative contents ([Hb]/[Mb]) to determine mitochondrial respiration (O2 uptake) in vivo. The second uses MRS methods to quantify key high-energy compounds (creatine phosphate, PCr, and adenosine triphosphate, ATP) to determine mitochondrial phosphorylation (ATP flux) in vivo. The third involves a functional test that combines these spectroscopic approaches to determine mitochondrial energy coupling (ATP/O2), phosphorylation capacity (ATP(max)) and oxidative capacity (O2max) of muscle. These new developments in optical and MR tools allow us to determine the function and capacity of mitochondria noninvasively in order to identify specific defects in vivo that are associated with disease in human and animal muscle. The clinical implication of this unique diagnostic probe is the insight into the nature and extent of dysfunction in metabolic and degenerative disorders, as well as the ability to follow the impact of interventions designed to reverse these disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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