Mitochondrial gene polymorphisms that protect mice from colitis

Gastroenterology. 2013 Nov;145(5):1055-1063.e3. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2013.07.015. Epub 2013 Jul 19.


Background & aims: Dysregulated energy homeostasis in the intestinal mucosa frequently is observed in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). Intestinal tissues from these patients have reduced activity of the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) complex, so mitochondrial dysfunction could contribute to the pathogenesis of UC. However, little is known about the mechanisms by which OXPHOS activity could be altered. We used conplastic mice, which have identical nuclear but different mitochondrial genomes, to investigate activities of the OXPHOS complex.

Methods: Colitis was induced in C57BL/6J wild-type (B6.B6) and 3 strains of conplastic mice (B6.NZB, B6.NOD, and B6.AKR) by administration of dextran sodium sulfate or rectal application of trinitrobenzene sulfonate. Colon tissues were collected and analyzed by histopathology, immunohistochemical analysis, and immunoblot analysis; we also measured mucosal levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and reactive oxygen species, OXPHOS complex activity, and epithelial cell proliferation and apoptosis.

Results: We identified mice with increased mucosal OXPHOS complex activities and levels of ATP. These mice developed less-severe colitis after administration of dextran sodium sulfate or trinitrobenzene sulfonate than mice with lower mucosal levels of ATP. Colon tissues from these mice also had increased enterocyte proliferation and transcription factor nuclear factor-κB activity, which have been shown to protect the mucosal barrier-defects in these processes have been associated with inflammatory bowel disease.

Conclusions: Variants in mitochondrial DNA that increase mucosal levels of ATP protect mice from colitis. Increasing mitochondrial ATP synthesis in intestinal epithelial cells could be a therapeutic approach for UC.

Keywords: 2,4-dinitrophenol; ADP; ATP; CS; Conplastic Inbred Mice; DNP; DSS; Energy Metabolism; IBD; IBD Model; Icam-1; Mitochondrial Dysfunction; NF-κB; OXPHOS; TNBS; UC; adenosine diphosphate; adenosine triphosphate; conplastic inbred strain; dextran sodium sulfate; inflammatory bowel disease; intercellular adhesion molekule 1; mDAI; mitochondrial; modified disease activity index; mt; nuclear factor-κB; oxidative phosphorylation; trinitrobenzene sulfonate; ulcerative colitis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Colitis / chemically induced
  • Colitis / genetics*
  • Colitis / metabolism
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Dextran Sulfate / adverse effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred AKR
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Mice, Inbred NZB
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Trinitrobenzenesulfonic Acid / adverse effects


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Trinitrobenzenesulfonic Acid
  • Dextran Sulfate