Research Article

Increase in mitochondrial DNA quantity and impairment of oxidative phosphorylation in bovine fibroblast cells treated with ethidium bromide for 15 passages in culture

Published: March 14, 2006
Genet. Mol. Res. 5 (1) : 55-62

Abstract

Bovine fetal fibroblast cells were treated with ethidium bromide at a low concentration for 15 passages in culture to determine its effect on mitochondrial DNA copy number and on cell metabolism. Mitochondrial membrane potential and lactate production were estimated in order to characterize cell metabolism. In addition, mitochondrial DNA ND5 in proportion to a nuclear gene (luteinizing hormone receptor) was determined at the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 10th, and 15th passages using semi-quantitative PCR amplification. Treated cells showed a lower mitochondrial membrane potential and higher levels of lactate production compared with control cells. However, the mitochondrial DNA/nuclear DNA ratio was higher in treated cells compared with control cells at the 10th and 15th passages. This ratio changed between the 3rd and 10th passages. Despite a clear impairment in mitochondrial function, ethidium bromide treatment did not lead to mitochondrial DNA depletion. It is possible that in response to a lower synthesis of ATP, due to an impairment in oxidative phosphorylation, treated cells develop a mechanism to resist the ethidium bromide effect on mtDNA replication, resulting in an increase in mitochondrial DNA copy number.

Bovine fetal fibroblast cells were treated with ethidium bromide at a low concentration for 15 passages in culture to determine its effect on mitochondrial DNA copy number and on cell metabolism. Mitochondrial membrane potential and lactate production were estimated in order to characterize cell metabolism. In addition, mitochondrial DNA ND5 in proportion to a nuclear gene (luteinizing hormone receptor) was determined at the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 10th, and 15th passages using semi-quantitative PCR amplification. Treated cells showed a lower mitochondrial membrane potential and higher levels of lactate production compared with control cells. However, the mitochondrial DNA/nuclear DNA ratio was higher in treated cells compared with control cells at the 10th and 15th passages. This ratio changed between the 3rd and 10th passages. Despite a clear impairment in mitochondrial function, ethidium bromide treatment did not lead to mitochondrial DNA depletion. It is possible that in response to a lower synthesis of ATP, due to an impairment in oxidative phosphorylation, treated cells develop a mechanism to resist the ethidium bromide effect on mtDNA replication, resulting in an increase in mitochondrial DNA copy number.

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