Threshold Effects in Synaptosomal and Nonsynaptic Mitochondria from Hippocampal CA1 and Paramedian Neocortex Brain Regions


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. G. P. Davey at Department of Biochemistry, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland.


Abstract: After a brief period of global ischemia, the hippocampal CA1 region is more susceptible to irreversible damage than the paramedian neocortex. To test whether primary differences in bioenergetic parameters may be present between these regions, respiration rates and respiratory control activities were measured. In synaptosomal and nonsynaptic mitochondria isolated from the hippocampal CA1 region, state 3 respiration rates and complex IV activities were significantly lower than those present in synaptosomal and nonsynaptic mitochondria from the paramedian neocortex. These results suggest that mitochondria from the CA1 hippocampal area differ in some properties of metabolism compared with the neocortex area, which may render them more susceptible to a toxic insult such as that of ischemia. In addition, when complex I and IV activities were titrated with specific inhibitors, thresholds in ATP synthesis and oxygen respiration became apparent. Complex I and IV activities were decreased by 60% in nonsynaptic mitochondria from the hippocampal CA1 region and paramedian neocortex before oxidative phosphorylation was severely compromised; however, in synaptosomes from these regions, complex I activities had a threshold of 25%, indicating heterogenous behaviour for brain mitochondria. Reduced complex I thresholds in mitochondria, in association with other constitutive defects in energy metabolism, may induce a decreased ATP supply in the synaptic region. The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to delayed neuronal death and processes of neurodegeneration.

Abbreviations used: BSA, bovine serum albumin; IM, isolation medium.