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Neuroscience. 2019 Mar 13;406:432-443. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2019.02.033. [Epub ahead of print]

Functional Differences between Synaptic Mitochondria from the Striatum and the Cerebral Cortex.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Copenhagen, 2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark.
Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, University of Copenhagen, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark.
Proteomics Program, The Novo Nordisk Foundation Centre for Protein Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, 2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark.
Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Copenhagen, 2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark. Electronic address:


Mitochondrial dysfunction has been shown to play a major role in neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington's disease, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. In these and other neurodegenerative disorders, disruption of synaptic connectivity and impaired neuronal signaling are among the early signs. When looking for potential causes of neurodegeneration, specific attention is drawn to the function of synaptic mitochondria, as the energy supply from mitochondria is crucial for normal synaptic function. Mitochondrial heterogeneity between synaptic and non-synaptic mitochondria has been described, but very little is known about possible differences between synaptic mitochondria from different brain regions. The striatum and the cerebral cortex are often affected in neurodegenerative disorders. In this study we therefore used isolated nerve terminals (synaptosomes) from female mice, striatum and cerebral cortex, to investigate differences in synaptic mitochondrial function between these two brain regions. We analyzed mitochondrial mass, citrate synthase activity, general metabolic activity and mitochondrial respiration in resting as well as veratridine-activated synaptosomes using glucose and/or pyruvate as substrate. We found higher mitochondrial oxygen consumption rate in both resting and activated cortical synaptosomes compared to striatal synaptosomes, especially when using pyruvate as a substrate. The higher oxygen consumption rate was not caused by differences in mitochondrial content, but instead corresponded with a higher proton leak in the cortical synaptic mitochondria compared to the striatal synaptic mitochondria. Our results show that the synaptic mitochondria of the striatum and cortex differently regulate respiration both in response to activation and variations in substrate conditions.


cerebral cortex; mitochondrial heterogeneity; mitochondrial respiration; striatum; synaptic mitochondria; synaptosomes

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