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Free Radic Biol Med. 1995 Mar;18(3):479-86.

Permeabilization of the inner mitochondrial membrane by Ca2+ ions is stimulated by t-butyl hydroperoxide and mediated by reactive oxygen species generated by mitochondria.

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Departamento de BioquĂ­mica, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil.


The extent of swelling undergone by deenergized mitochondria incubated in KCl/sucrose medium in the presence of Ca2+ alone or Ca2+ and t-butyl hydroperoxide decreases by decreasing molecular oxygen concentration in the reaction medium; under anaerobiosis no swelling occurs. This swelling is also inhibited by the presence of exogenous catalase or by the Fe2+ chelator o-phenanthroline in a time-dependent manner. The production of protein thiol cross-linking that leads to the formation of protein aggregates induced by Ca2+ and t-butyl hydroperoxide does not occur when mitochondria are incubated in anaerobic medium or in the presence of o-phenanthroline. In addition, it is also shown that the yield of stable methyl radical adducts, obtained from rat liver mitochondria treated with t-butyl hydroperoxide and the spin trap DMPO, is reduced by addition of EGTA and increases by addition of Ca2+ ions. These data support the hypothesis that Ca2+ ions stimulate electron leakage from the respiratory chain, increasing the mitochondrial production of reactive oxygen species.

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