Sepsis induces diaphragm electron transport chain dysfunction and protein depletion

Leigh A. Callahan, Gerald S. Supinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Rationale: Sepsis significantly alters skeletal muscle mitochondrial function, but the mechanisms responsible for this abnormality are unknown. Objectives: We postulated that endotoxin elicits specific changes in electron transport chain proteins that produce derangements in mitochondrial function. To examine this issue, we compared the effects of endotoxin-induced sepsis on mitochondrial ATP (adenosine triphosphate) formation and electron transport chain protein composition. Methods and Measurements: Diaphragm mitochondrial oxygen consumption and mitochondrial nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, reduced form, oxidase assays were measured in control rats (n = 13) and rats given endotoxin (8 mg/kg/d) for 12 (n = 14), 24 (n = 14), 36 (n = 14), and 48 h (n = 13). Electron transport chain subunits from Complexes I, III, IV, and V were isolated using Blue Native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis techniques. Main Results: Endotoxin administration: 1) elicited large reductions in mitochondrial oxygen consumption (e.g., 201 ± 3.9 SE natoms O/min/mg for controls and 101 ± 4.5 SE natoms O/minutes/mg after 48 h endotoxin, p < 0.001), in nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, reduced form, oxidase activity (p < 0.002), and in uncoupled respiration (p < 0.001) and 2) induced selective reductions in two subunits of Complex I, three subunits of Complex III, one subunit of Complex IV, and one subunit of Complex V. The time course of depletion of protein subunits mirrored alterations in oxygen consumption. Conclusions: Our data indicate that endotoxin selectively depletes critical components of the electron transport chain that diminishes electron flow, reduces proton pumping and decreases ATP formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)861-868
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2005


  • Blue-Native PAGE
  • Diaphragm
  • Endotoxin
  • Mitochondria
  • Sepsis
  • Skeletal muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Sepsis induces diaphragm electron transport chain dysfunction and protein depletion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this