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J Neurochem. 1995 May;64(5):1965-72.

Effect of peroxynitrite on the mitochondrial respiratory chain: differential susceptibility of neurones and astrocytes in primary culture.

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Department of Neurochemistry, Institute of Neurology, London, England.


The effect of the neurotoxic nitric oxide derivative, the peroxynitrite anion (ONOO-), on the activity of the mitochondrial respiratory chain complexes in cultured neurones and astrocytes was studied. A single exposure of the neurones to ONOO- (initial concentrations of 0.01-2.0 mM) caused, after a subsequent 24-h incubation, a dose-dependent decrease in succinate-cytochrome c reductase (60% at 0.5 mM) and in cytochrome c oxidase (52% at 0.5 mM) activities. NADH-ubiquinone-1 reductase was unaffected. In astrocytes, the activity of the mitochondrial complexes was not affected up to 2 mM ONOO-. Citrate synthase was unaffected in both cell types under all conditions studied. However, lactate dehydrogenase activity released to the culture medium was increased by ONOO- in a dose-dependent manner (40% at 0.5 mM ONOO-) from the neurones but not from the astrocytes. Neuronal glutathione concentration decreased by 39% at 0.1 mM ONOO-, but astrocytic glutathione was not affected up to 2 mM ONOO-. In isolated brain mitochondria, only succinate-cytochrome c reductase activity was affected (22% decrease at 1 mM ONOO-). We conclude that the acute exposure of ONOO- selectively damages neurones, whereas astrocytes remain unaffected. Intracellular glutathione appears to be an important factor for ameliorating ONOO(-)-mediated mitochondrial damage. This study supports the hypothesis that the neurotoxicity of nitric oxide is mediated through mitochondrial dysfunction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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