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Biochem Med Metab Biol. 1994 Feb;51(1):35-42.

An evaluation of the measurement of the activities of complexes I-IV in the respiratory chain of human skeletal muscle mitochondria.

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Division of Clinical Neuroscience, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England.


The measurement of individual respiratory chain complexes is an important component of the investigation of diseases due to mitochondrial dysfunction. We have evaluated assays which measure complexes I to IV in human skeletal muscle mitochondria and in addition optimized these assays to provide sensitive and reliable diagnostic techniques, particularly in situations where a partial interruption at a single complex needs to identified. Using several established methods of membrane disruption we have found that optimal activities of complexes I and II are obtained by freeze-thawing the mitochondria in hypotonic potassium phosphate buffer, whereas complex III and IV activities are markedly increased by the addition of the detergent n-dodecyl-beta-D-maltoside. Complex I activity is measured in the presence of 2.5 bovine serum albumin, which increases rotenone sensitivity, and we have shown that NADH-cytochrome b5 reductase makes an important contribution to the rotenone-insensitive NADH-ubiquinone oxidoreductase activity. Complex II activity is measured after preincubation of the mitochondrial fraction with succinate to fully activate the complex. Complex I and III activities are dependent upon the length of the isoprenoid chain of the ubiquinone and ubiquinol, respectively. These assays have been used to establish a control range.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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