Author(s): Sokolova IM, Sokolov EP, Ponnappa KM
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Abstract Cadmium is a ubiquitous and extremely toxic metal, which strongly affects mitochondrial function of aquatic organisms in vitro; however, nothing is known about the in vivo effects of sublethal concentrations of this metal on mitochondrial bioenergetics. We have studied the effects of exposure to 0 (control) or 25 microg L-1 (Cd-exposed) Cd2+ on mitochondrial function and gene expression of key mitochondrial proteins in the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica. Cadmium exposure in vivo resulted in considerable accumulation of cadmium in oyster mitochondria and in a significant decrease of ADP-stimulated respiration (state 3) by 30\% indicating impaired capacity for ATP production. The decrease in state 3 respiration was similar to the level of inhibition expected from the direct effects of cadmium accumulated in oyster mitochondria. On the other hand, while no effect on proton leak was expected based on the mitochondrial accumulation of cadmium, Cd-exposed oysters in fact showed a significant decline of the proton leak rate (state 4+respiration) by 40\%. This suggested a downregulation of proton leak, which correlated with a decrease in mRNA expression of a mitochondrial uncoupling protein UCP6 and two other potential uncouplers, mitochondrial substrate carriers MSC-1 and MSC-2. Expression of other key mitochondrial proteins including cytochrome c oxidase, adenine nucleotide transporter and voltage dependent anion channel was not affected by cadmium exposure. Adenylate energy charge (AEC) was significantly lower in Cd-exposed oysters; however, this was due to higher steady state ADP levels and not to the decrease in tissue ATP levels. Our data show that adjustment of the proton leak in cadmium-exposed oysters may be a compensatory mechanism, which allows them to maintain normal mitochondrial coupling and ATP levels despite the cadmium-induced inhibition of capacity for ATP production.
This article was published in Aquat Toxicol
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy