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Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 2012 Apr;120(4):248-51. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1285833. Epub 2011 Sep 15.

Platelet mitochondrial dysfunction is evident in type 2 diabetes in association with modifications of mitochondrial anti-oxidant stress proteins.

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Center for Molecular Medicine, NHLBI, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA.



Mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress in insulin responsive tissues is implicated in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. Whether these perturbations extend to other tissues and contribute to their pathophysiology is less well established. The objective of this study was to investigate platelet mitochondria to evaluate whether type 2 diabetes associated mitochondrial dysfunction is evident in circulating cells.


A pilot study of mitochondrial respiratory function and proteomic changes comparing platelets extracted from insulin sensitive (n=8) and type 2 diabetic subjects (n=7).


In-situ platelet mitochondria show diminished oxygen consumption and lower oxygen-dependent ATP synthesis in diabetic vs. control subjects. Mass spectrometric identification and confirmatory immunoblot analysis identifies induction of the mitochondrial anti-oxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase 2 and thioredoxin-dependent peroxide reductase 3 in platelets of diabetic subjects. As oxidative stress upregulates anti-oxidant enzymes we assessed mitochondrial protein carbonylation as an index of oxidative-stress. Platelets of diabetic subjects exhibit significantly increased protein carbonylation compared to controls.


As platelets are anuclear fragments of megakaryocytes, our data suggest that the bone marrow compartment in type 2 diabetic subjects is exposed to increased mitochondrial oxidative stress with upregulation of nuclear-encoded antioxidant mitochondrial enzymes. This 'stress-signature' in platelets of diabetic subjects is associated with a diminution of their mitochondrial contribution to energy production and support that mitochondrial perturbations in type 2 diabetes extends beyond the classical insulin responsive tissues. Platelets, as "accessible human tissue", may be useful to measure the mitochondrial modulatory effects of emerging anti-diabetic therapeutics.

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