Differences in Mitochondrial Function in Homogenated Samples from Healthy and Epileptic Specific Brain Tissues Revealed by High-Resolution Respirometry
Mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress are strongly implicated in neurodegenerative diseases and epilepsy. Strikingly, neurodegenerative diseases show regional specificity in vulnerability and follow distinct patterns of neuronal loss. A challenge is to understand, why mitochondria fail in particular brain regions under specific pathological conditions. A potential explanation could be provided by regional or cellular specificity of mitochondrial function. We applied high-resolution respirometry to analyze the integrated Complex I- and II (CI and CII)-linked respiration, the activity of Complex IV, and the combined CI&II-linked oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS)- and electron-transfer system (ETS)-capacity in microsamples obtained from distinct regions of the mouse brain. We compared different approaches to assess mitochondrial density and suggest flux control ratios as a valid method to normalize respiration to mitochondrial density. This approach revealed significant differences of CI- and CII-linked OXPHOS capacity and coupling control between motor cortex, striatum, hippocampus and pons of naïve mice. CI-linked respiration was highest in motor cortex, while CII-linked respiration predominated in the striatum. To investigate if this method could also determine differences in normal and disease stateswithin the same brain region,we compared hippocampal homogenates in a chronic epilepsy model. Three weeks after stereotaxic injection of kainate, there was a downregulation of CI- and upregulation of CII-linked respiration in the resulting epileptic ipsilateral hippocampus compared to the contralateral one. In summary, respirometric OXPHOS analysis provides a very sensitive diagnostic approach using small amounts of distinct brain tissues. In a single assay, information is obtained on numerous OXPHOS parameters as indicators of tissue-specific mitochondrial performance.