Adaptive increases in respiratory capacity and O 2 affinity of subsarcolemmal mitochondria from skeletal muscle of high‐altitude deer mice

Dawson, N. J. and Scott, G. R. (2022) Adaptive increases in respiratory capacity and O 2 affinity of subsarcolemmal mitochondria from skeletal muscle of high‐altitude deer mice. FASEB Journal, 36(7), e22391. (doi: 10.1096/fj.202200219r) (PMID:35661419)

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Aerobic energy demands have led to the evolution of complex mitochondrial reticula in highly oxidative muscles, but the extent to which metabolic challenges can be met with adaptive changes in physiology of specific mitochondrial fractions remains unresolved. We examined mitochondrial mechanisms supporting adaptive increases in aerobic performance in deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) adapted to the hypoxic environment at high altitude. High‐altitude and low‐altitude mice were born and raised in captivity, and exposed as adults to normoxia or hypobaric hypoxia (12 kPa O2 for 6–8 weeks). Subsarcolemmal and intermyofibrillar mitochondria were isolated from the gastrocnemius, and a comprehensive substrate titration protocol was used to examine mitochondrial physiology and O2 kinetics by high‐resolution respirometry and fluorometry. High‐altitude mice had greater yield, respiratory capacity for oxidative phosphorylation, and O2 affinity (lower P50) of subsarcolemmal mitochondria compared to low‐altitude mice across environments, but there were no species difference in these traits in intermyofibrillar mitochondria. High‐altitude mice also had greater capacities of complex II relative to complexes I + II and higher succinate dehydrogenase activities in both mitochondrial fractions. Exposure to chronic hypoxia reduced reactive oxygen species (ROS) emission in high‐altitude mice but not in low‐altitude mice. Our findings suggest that functional changes in subsarcolemmal mitochondria contribute to improving aerobic performance in hypoxia in high‐altitude deer mice. Therefore, physiological variation in specific mitochondrial fractions can help overcome the metabolic challenges of life at high altitude.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Bioenergetics, biological evolution, high‐altitude hypoxia, muscle mitochondria, reactive oxygen species.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dawson, Dr Neal
Authors: Dawson, N. J., and Scott, G. R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:FASEB Journal
Publisher:Federation of American Society of Experimental Biology
ISSN (Online):1530-6860
Published Online:06 June 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Authors
First Published:First published in FASEB Journal 36(7):e22391
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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