Effect of aging, caloric restriction, and uncoupling protein 3 (UCP3) on mitochondrial proton leak in mice

Exp Gerontol. 2008 Dec;43(12):1069-76. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2008.09.010. Epub 2008 Sep 30.


Mitochondrial proton leak may modulate reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and play a role in aging. The purpose of this study was to determine proton leak across the life span in skeletal mitochondria from calorie-restricted and UCP2/3 overexpressing mice. Proton leak in isolated mitochondria and markers of oxidative stress in whole tissue were measured in female C57BL/6J mice fed ad-libitum (WT-Control) or a 30% calorie-restricted (WT-CR) diet, and in mice overexpressing UCP2 and UCP3 (Positive-TG), their non-overexpressing littermates (Negative-TG) and UCP3 knockout mice (UCP3KO). Proton leak in WT-CR mice was lower than that of control mice at 8 and 26 months of age. The Positive-TG mice had greater proton leak than the Negative-TG and UCP3KO mice at 8 months of age, but this difference disappeared by 19 and 26 months. Lipid peroxidation was generally lower in WT-CR vs. WT-Control mice and UCP3KO mice had greater concentrations of T-BARS (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, a measure of lipid peroxidation) than did Positive-TG and Negative-TG. The results of this study indicate that sustained increases in muscle mitochondrial proton leak are not responsible for alterations in life span with calorie restriction or UCP3 overexpression in mice. However, UCP3 may contribute to the actions of CR through mechanisms distinct from increasing basal proton leak.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Caloric Restriction / mortality*
  • Gangliosides
  • Ion Channels / metabolism*
  • Lipid Peroxidation / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Protons
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Uncoupling Protein 3


  • Gangliosides
  • Ion Channels
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Protons
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Ucp3 protein, mouse
  • Uncoupling Protein 3
  • WILD 20