The ATP/ADP-antiporter is involved in the uncoupling effect of fatty acids on mitochondria

Eur J Biochem. 1989 Jul 1;182(3):585-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-1033.1989.tb14867.x.


The ATP/ADP-antiporter inhibitors and the substrate ADP suppress the uncoupling effect induced by low (10-20 microM) concentrations of palmitate in mitochondria from skeletal muscle and liver. The inhibitors and ADP are found to (a) inhibit the palmitate-stimulated respiration in the controlled state and (b) increase the membrane potential lowered by palmitate. The degree of efficiency decreases in the order: carboxyatractylate (CAtr) greater than ADP greater than bongkrekic acid, atractylate. GDP is ineffective, Mg.ADP is of much smaller effect, whereas ATP is effective at much higher concentration than is ADP. Inhibitor concentrations, which maximally suppress the palmitate-stimulated respiration, correspond to those needed for arresting the state 3 respiration. The extent of the CAtr-sensitive stimulation of respiration by palmitate has been found to decrease with an increase in palmitate concentration. Stimulation of the controlled respiration by p-trifluoromethoxycarbonylcyanide phenylhydrozone (FCCP) and gramicidin D at any concentrations of these uncouplers is CAtr-insensitive, whereas that caused by a low concentrations of 2,4-dinitrophenol and dodecyl sulfate is inhibited by CAtr. The above effect of palmitate develops immediately after addition of the fatty acid. It is resistant to EGTA as well as to inhibitors of phospholipase (nupercain) and of lipid peroxidation (ionol). Moreover, palmitate accelerates spontaneous release of the respiratory control, developing in rat liver mitochondria under certain conditions. This effect takes several minutes, being sensitive to EGTA, nupercain and ionol. Like the fast uncoupling, this slow effect is inhibited by ADP but CAtr and atractylate are stimulatory rather than inhibitory. In artificial planar phospholipid membrane, palmitate does not increase the membrane conductance, FCCP increases it strongly and dinitrophenol only slightly. In cytochrome oxidase proteoliposomes, FCCP, gramicidin and dinitrophenol (less effectively) lower, whereas palmitate enhances the cytochrome-oxidase-generated membrane potential. In this system, monensin substitutes for palmitate. It is concluded that the ATP/ADP antiporter is somehow involved in the uncoupling effect caused by low concentrations of palmitate and, partially, of dinitrophenol, whereas uncoupling produced by FCCP and gramicidin is due to their action on the phospholipid part of the mitochondrial membrane. A possible mechanism of this effect is discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Diphosphate / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport / drug effects
  • Carbonyl Cyanide p-Trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone / pharmacology
  • Drug Synergism
  • Fatty Acids / pharmacology*
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial ADP, ATP Translocases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Mitochondrial ADP, ATP Translocases / metabolism*
  • Nucleotidyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Oxidation-Reduction / drug effects
  • Oxygen Consumption / drug effects
  • Palmitates / metabolism
  • Palmitates / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Uncoupling Agents / pharmacology*


  • Fatty Acids
  • Palmitates
  • Uncoupling Agents
  • Carbonyl Cyanide p-Trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone
  • Adenosine Diphosphate
  • Mitochondrial ADP, ATP Translocases
  • Nucleotidyltransferases