Effect of thyroid hormones on mitochondrial oxygen free radical production and DNA oxidative damage in the rat heart.


Mitochondria seem to be involved in oxygen radical damage and aging. However, the possible relationships between oxygen consumption and oxygen radical production by functional mitochondria, and oxidative DNA damage, have not been studied previously. In order to analyze these relationships, male Wistar rats of 12 weeks of age were rendered hyper- and hypothyroid by chronic T(3) and 6-n-propyl-2-thiouracil treatments, respectively. Hypothyroidism decreased heart mitochondrial H(2)O(2) production in States 4 (to 51% of controls; P<0.05) and 3 (to 21% of controls; P<0.05). In agreement with this, 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-oxodG) decreased in the heart genomic DNA of hypothyroid animals to 40% of controls (P<0.001). Studies with respiratory inhibitors showed that the decrease in oxygen radical generation observed in hypothyroidism occurred at Complex III (mainly) and at Complex I; that decrease was due to the presence of a lower free radical leak in the respiratory chain (P<0.05). Hyperthyroidism did not significantly change heart mitochondrial H(2)O(2) production since the increase in State 4 oxygen consumption in comparison with control and hypothyroid animals (P<0.05) was compensated by a decrease in the free radical leak in relation to control animals (P<0.05). In agreement with this, heart 8-oxodG was not changed in hyperthyroid animals. The lack of increase in H(2)O(2) production per unit of mitochondrial protein will protect mitochondria themselves against self-inflicted damage during hyperthyroidism.

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