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Life Sci. 2010 Jul 31;87(5-6):139-46. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2010.05.019. Epub 2010 Jun 9.

cis-4-decenoic acid provokes mitochondrial bioenergetic dysfunction in rat brain.

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Departamento de Bioquímica, Instituto de Ciências Básicas da Saúde, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.



In the present work we investigated the in vitro effect of cis-4-decenoic acid, the pathognomonic metabolite of medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency, on various parameters of bioenergetic homeostasis in rat brain mitochondria.


Respiratory parameters determined by oxygen consumption were evaluated, as well as membrane potential, NAD(P)H content, swelling and cytochrome c release in mitochondrial preparations from rat brain, using glutamate plus malate or succinate as substrates. The activities of citric acid cycle enzymes were also assessed.


cis-4-decenoic acid markedly increased state 4 respiration, whereas state 3 respiration and the respiratory control ratio were decreased. The ADP/O ratio, the mitochondrial membrane potential, the matrix NAD(P)H levels and aconitase activity were also diminished by cis-4-decenoic acid. These data indicate that this fatty acid acts as an uncoupler of oxidative phosphorylation and as a metabolic inhibitor. cis-4-decenoic acid also provoked a marked mitochondrial swelling when either KCl or sucrose was used in the incubation medium and also induced cytochrome c release from mitochondria, suggesting a non-selective permeabilization of the inner mitochondrial membrane.


It is therefore presumed that impairment of mitochondrial homeostasis provoked by cis-4-decenoic acid may be involved in the brain dysfunction observed in medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficient patients.

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