Lipophilic triphenylphosphonium cations as tools in mitochondrial bioenergetics and free radical biology

Biochemistry (Mosc). 2005 Feb;70(2):222-30. doi: 10.1007/s10541-005-0104-5.


Lipophilic phosphonium cations were first used to investigate mitochondrial biology by Vladimir Skulachev and colleagues in the late 1960s. Since then, these molecules have become important tools for exploring mitochondrial bioenergetics and free radical biology. Here we review why these molecules are useful in mitochondrial research and outline some of the ways in which they are now being utilized.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cations / chemistry
  • Cations / metabolism
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Free Radicals / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Structure
  • Organophosphorus Compounds / chemistry
  • Organophosphorus Compounds / metabolism*


  • Cations
  • Free Radicals
  • Organophosphorus Compounds