Bioenergetics in aging: Mitochondrial proton leak in aging rat liver, kidney and heart

G. Serviddio, F. Bellanti, A. D. Romano, R. Tamborra, T. Rollo, E. Altomare, G. Vendemiale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aging is associated with a decline in performance in many organs and loss of physiological performance can be due to free radicals. Mitochondria are incompletely coupled: during oxidative phosphorylation some of the redox energy is dissipated as natural proton leak across the inner membrane. To verify whether proton leak occurs in mitochondria during aging, we measured the mitochondrial respiratory chain activity, membrane potential and proton leak in liver, kidneys and heart of young and old rats. Mitochondria from old rats showed normal rates of Complex I and Complex II respiration. However, they had a lower membrane potential compared to mitochondria from younger rats. In addition, they exhibited an increased rate of proton conductance which partially dissipated the mitochondrial membrane potential when the rate of electron transport was suppressed. This could compromise energy homeostasis in aging cells in conditions that require additional energy supply and could minimize oxidative damage to DNA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-95
Number of pages5
JournalRedox Report
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007


  • Aging
  • Membrane potential
  • Mitochondria
  • Proton conductance
  • Respiratory chain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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