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Keywords:

  • membrane potential;
  • mitochondrion;
  • oxidative stress;
  • protonmotive force;
  • superoxide;
  • uncoupling

Summary

The mitochondrial membrane potential (or protonmotive force) is the central bioenergetic parameter that controls respiratory rate, ATP synthesis and the generation of reactive oxygen species, and is itself controlled by electron transport and proton leaks. As a consequence of extensive research, there has emerged a consensus as to how these parameters integrate. Despite this consensus, the literature contains contradictory reports on the extent to which these parameters are modified in animal models of aging. This article critically examines the basis for a number of these reports.