Byproducts of normal mitochondrial metabolism and homeostasis include the buildup of potentially damaging levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), Ca(2+), etc., which must be normalized. Evidence suggests that brief mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) openings play an important physiological role maintaining healthy mitochondria homeostasis. Adaptive and maladaptive responses to redox stress may involve mitochondrial channels such as mPTP and inner membrane anion channel (IMAC). Their activation causes intra- and intermitochondrial redox-environment changes leading to ROS release. This regenerative cycle of mitochondrial ROS formation and release was named ROS-induced ROS release (RIRR). Brief, reversible mPTP opening-associated ROS release apparently constitutes an adaptive housekeeping function by the timely release from mitochondria of accumulated potentially toxic levels of ROS (and Ca(2+)). At higher ROS levels, longer mPTP openings may release a ROS burst leading to destruction of mitochondria, and if propagated from mitochondrion to mitochondrion, of the cell itself. The destructive function of RIRR may serve a physiological role by removal of unwanted cells or damaged mitochondria, or cause the pathological elimination of vital and essential mitochondria and cells. The adaptive release of sufficient ROS into the vicinity of mitochondria may also activate local pools of redox-sensitive enzymes involved in protective signaling pathways that limit ischemic damage to mitochondria and cells in that area. Maladaptive mPTP- or IMAC-related RIRR may also be playing a role in aging. Because the mechanism of mitochondrial RIRR highlights the central role of mitochondria-formed ROS, we discuss all of the known ROS-producing sites (shown in vitro) and their relevance to the mitochondrial ROS production in vivo.
Copyright © 2014 the American Physiological Society.