Myocardial ischemia has long-lasting negative impacts on cardiomyocyte mitochondrial ATP production. However, the location(s) of damage to the oxidative phosphorylation pathway responsible for altered mitochondrial function is unclear. Mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) production increases following ischemia, but the specific factors controlling this increase are unknown. To determine how ischemia affects the mitochondrial energy conversion cascade and ROS production, mitochondrial driving forces [redox potential and membrane potential (ΔΨ)] were measured at resting, intermediate, and maximal respiration rates in mitochondria isolated from rat hearts after 60 min of control flow (control) or no-flow ischemia (ischemia). The effective activities of the dehydrogenase enzymes, the electron transport chain (ETC), and ATP synthesis and transport were computed using the driving forces and flux. Ischemia lowered maximal mitochondrial respiration rates and diminished the responsiveness of respiration to both redox potential and ΔΨ. Ischemia decreased the activities of every component of the oxidative phosphorylation pathway: the dehydrogenase enzymes, the ETC, and ATP synthesis and transport. ROS production was linearly related to driving force down the ETC; however, ischemia mitochondria demonstrated a greater driving force down the ETC and higher ROS production. Overall, results indicate that ischemia ubiquitously damages the oxidative phosphorylation pathway, reduces mitochondrial sensitivity to driving forces, and augments the propensity for electrons to leak from the ETC. These findings underscore that strategies to improve mitochondrial function following ischemia must target the entire mitochondrial energy conversion cascade.NEW & NOTEWORTHY This integrative analysis is the first to assess how myocardial ischemia alters the mitochondrial driving forces and the degree to which individual segments of the mitochondrial energy transduction pathway contribute to diminished function following ischemia. This investigation demonstrates that increased reactive oxygen species production following ischemia is related to a lower effective activity of the electron transport chain and a greater driving force down the electron transport chain.
Keywords: cardiac ischemia; metabolic control; mitochondria; reactive oxygen species.