Mahalingam 2020 J Physiol

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Mahalingam S, Cheviron ZA, Storz JF, McClelland GB, Scott GR (2020) Chronic cold exposure induces mitochondrial plasticity in deer mice native to high altitudes. J Physiol [Epub ahead of print].

» PMID: 32886797

Mahalingam Sajeni, Cheviron Zachary A, Storz Jay F, McClelland Grant B, Scott Graham R (2020) J Physiol

Abstract: Small mammals native to high altitude must sustain high rates of thermogenesis to cope with cold and hypoxic environments. Skeletal muscle is a key site of shivering and non-shivering thermogenesis, but the importance of mitochondrial plasticity in small mammals at high altitude remains unresolved. High-altitude deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) and low-altitude white-footed mice (P. leucopus) were born and raised in captivity, and chronically exposed as adults to warm (25°C) normoxia, warm hypoxia (12 kPa O2), cold (5°C) normoxia, or cold hypoxia. We then measured oxidative enzyme activities, oxidative fibre density and capillarity in the gastrocnemius, and used a comprehensive substrate titration protocol to examine the function of muscle mitochondria by high-resolution respirometry. Exposure to cold in both normoxia or hypoxia increased the activities of citrate synthase and cytochrome oxidase. In lowlanders, this was associated with increases in capillary density and the proportional abundance of oxidative muscle fibres, but in highlanders, these traits were unchanged at high levels across environments. Environment had some distinct effects on mitochondrial OXPHOS capacity between species, but the capacity of complex II relative to the combined capacity of complexes I and II was consistently reduced in both cold environments. Both cold environments also increased leak respiration and decreased phosphorylation efficiency and OXPHOS coupling efficiency in both species, which may serve to augment non-shivering thermogenesis. These cold-induced changes in mitochondrial function were overlaid upon the generally more oxidative phenotype of highlanders. Therefore, both plasticity and evolved changes in muscle mitochondria contribute to thermogenesis at high altitudes.

© 2020 The Authors. The Journal of Physiology © 2020 The Physiological Society.

Keywords: Evolutionary physiology, High-altitude adaptation, Lipid oxidation, Mitochondrial metabolism, Substrate control ratio Bioblast editor: Plangger M O2k-Network Lab: CA Hamilton Scott GR


Labels: MiParea: Respiration, Comparative MiP;environmental MiP 

Stress:Temperature, Hypoxia  Organism: Mouse  Tissue;cell: Skeletal muscle  Preparation: Isolated mitochondria 


Coupling state: LEAK, OXPHOS  Pathway: F, N, S, CIV, NS  HRR: Oxygraph-2k 

2020-09