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Am J Physiol. 1987 Oct;253(4 Pt 1):C495-9.

Gentamicin enhanced production of hydrogen peroxide by renal cortical mitochondria.

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Department of Pathology and Internal Medicine, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112.


Agents that affect mitochondrial respiration have been shown to enhance the generation of reactive oxygen metabolites. On the basis of the well-demonstrated ability of gentamicin to alter mitochondrial respiration (stimulation of state 4 and inhibition of state 3), it was postulated that gentamicin may enhance the generation of reactive oxygen metabolites by renal cortical mitochondria. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of gentamicin on the production of hydrogen peroxide (measured as the decrease in scopoletin fluorescence) in rat renal cortical mitochondria. The hydrogen peroxide generation by mitochondria was enhanced from 0.17 +/- 0.02 nmol . mg-1 . min-1 (n = 14) in the absence of gentamicin to 6.21 +/- 0.67 nmol . mg-1 . min-1 (n = 14) in the presence of 4 mM gentamicin. This response was dose dependent with a significant increase observed at even the lowest concentration of gentamicin tested, 0.01 mM. Production of hydrogen peroxide was not increased when gentamicin was added to incubation media in which mitochondria or substrate was omitted or heat-inactivated mitochondria were used. The gentamicin-induced change in fluorescence was completely inhibited by catalase (but not by heat-inactivated catalase), indicating that the decrease in fluorescence was due to hydrogen peroxide. Thus this study demonstrates that gentamicin enhances the production of hydrogen peroxide by mitochondria. Because of their well-documented cytotoxicity, reactive oxygen metabolites may play a critical role in gentamicin nephrotoxicity.

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