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J Bioenerg Biomembr. 2010 Apr;42(2):165-72. doi: 10.1007/s10863-010-9275-x. Epub 2010 Mar 19.

Effects of Ginkgo biloba extract on heart and liver mitochondrial functions: mechanism(s) of action.

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Institute for Biomedical Research, Kaunas University of Medicine, Eiveniu str. 4, LT-50009, Kaunas, Lithuania.


Though extracts of Ginkgo biloba leaves (GBE) have a wide pharmacological application, little is known about GBE effects on mitochondria. In this work, effects of ethanolic GBE on the respiration of isolated rat heart and liver mitochondria were investigated. We found that GBE stimulates the pyruvate + malate-dependent State 2 respiration of heart mitochondria and decreases mitochondrial membrane potential. Uncoupling effect of GBE was found to be due to its protonophoric action and is likely to be mediated by the ATP/ADP-translocator and uncoupling proteins. The effect of GBE was less in liver than in heart mitochondria. State 3 respiration of heart mitochondria was slightly stimulated at low and depressed at higher GBE concentrations. Inhibition of State 3 respiration of heart mitochondria was not relieved by uncoupler indicating that GBE may inhibit the respiratory chain complexes or the substrate transport. However, Complex IV of the respiratory chain was not inhibited by GBE. H(2)O(2) generation was attenuated by low concentration of GBE probably due to mild uncoupling. The data suggest that mild but not severe uncoupling activity of GBE may be important in providing pharmacological protection of cellular functions in pathological situations.

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