AP39, a novel mitochondria-targeted hydrogen sulfide donor, stimulates cellular bioenergetics, exerts cytoprotective effects and protects against the loss of mitochondrial DNA integrity in oxidatively stressed endothelial cells in vitro

Nitric Oxide. 2014 Sep 15;41:120-30. doi: 10.1016/j.niox.2014.04.008. Epub 2014 Apr 19.


The purpose of the current study was to investigate the effect of the recently synthesized mitochondrially-targeted H2S donor, AP39 [(10-oxo-10-(4-(3-thioxo-3H-1,2-dithiol-5yl)phenoxy)decyl) triphenylphosphonium bromide], on bioenergetics, viability, and mitochondrial DNA integrity in bEnd.3 murine microvascular endothelial cells in vitro, under normal conditions, and during oxidative stress. Intracellular H2S was assessed by the fluorescent dye 7-azido-4-methylcoumarin. For the measurement of bioenergetic function, the XF24 Extracellular Flux Analyzer was used. Cell viability was estimated by the combination of the MTT and LDH methods. Oxidative protein modifications were measured by the Oxyblot method. Reactive oxygen species production was monitored by the MitoSOX method. Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA integrity were assayed by the Long Amplicon PCR method. Oxidative stress was induced by addition of glucose oxidase. Addition of AP39 (30-300 nM) to bEnd.3 cells increased intracellular H2S levels, with a preferential response in the mitochondrial regions. AP39 exerted a concentration-dependent effect on mitochondrial activity, which consisted of a stimulation of mitochondrial electron transport and cellular bioenergetic function at lower concentrations (30-100 nM) and an inhibitory effect at the higher concentration of 300 nM. Under oxidative stress conditions induced by glucose oxidase, an increase in oxidative protein modification and an enhancement in MitoSOX oxidation was noted, coupled with an inhibition of cellular bioenergetic function and a reduction in cell viability. AP39 pretreatment attenuated these responses. Glucose oxidase induced a preferential damage to the mitochondrial DNA; AP39 (100 nM) pretreatment protected against it. In conclusion, the current paper documents antioxidant and cytoprotective effects of AP39 under oxidative stress conditions, including a protection against oxidative mitochondrial DNA damage.

Keywords: Bioenergetics; Cytoprotection; DNA repair; Mitochondria; Oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • DNA Repair / drug effects
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / drug effects*
  • Endothelial Cells / drug effects
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Glucose Oxidase / metabolism
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / analysis
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / pharmacology*
  • Intracellular Space / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Organophosphates / pharmacology*
  • Organophosphorus Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Protective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Thiones / pharmacology*


  • AP39 compound
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Organophosphates
  • Organophosphorus Compounds
  • Protective Agents
  • Thiones
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Glucose Oxidase
  • Hydrogen Sulfide