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We previously demonstrated that hexokinase II (HK2) dissociation from mitochondria during cardiac ischemia correlates with cytochrome c (cyt-c) loss, oxidative stress and subsequent reperfusion injury. However, whether HK2 release is the primary signal mediating this ischemia-induced mitochondrial dysfunction was not established. To investigate this, we studied the effects of dissociating HK2 from isolated heart mitochondria. Mitochondria isolated from Langendorff-perfused rat hearts before and after 30 min global ischemia ± ischemic preconditioning (IPC) were subject to in vitro dissociation of HK2 by incubation with glucose-6-phosphate at pH 6.3. Prior HK2 dissociation from pre- or end-ischemic heart mitochondria had no effect on their cyt-c release, respiration (± ADP) or mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) opening. Inner mitochondrial membrane morphology was assessed indirectly by monitoring changes in light scattering (LS) and confirmed by transmission electron microscopy. Although no major ultrastructure differences were detected between pre- and end-ischemia mitochondria, the amplitude of changes in LS was reduced in the latter. This was prevented by IPC but not mimicked in vitro by HK2 dissociation. We also observed more Drp1, a mitochondrial fission protein, in end-ischemia mitochondria. IPC failed to prevent this increase but did decrease mitochondrial-associated dynamin 2. In vitro HK2 dissociation alone cannot replicate ischemia-induced effects on mitochondrial function implying that in vivo dissociation of HK2 modulates end-ischemia mitochondrial function indirectly perhaps involving interaction with mitochondrial fission proteins. The resulting changes in mitochondrial morphology and cristae structure would destabilize outer / inner membrane interactions, increase cyt-c release and enhance mPTP sensitivity to [Ca2+].

Original publication




Journal article


Plos one

Publication Date





Animals, Cell Respiration, Dynamins, Glucose-6-Phosphate, Hemodynamics, Hexokinase, Hydrogen-Ion Concentration, Ischemic Preconditioning, Ligands, Male, Mitochondria, Heart, Mitochondrial Dynamics, Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins, Mitochondrial Membranes, Mitochondrial Permeability Transition Pore, Myocardial Ischemia, Protein Binding, Rats, Wistar