Journal Article Magnetic resonance imaging of mitochondrial dysfunction and metabolic activity, accompanied by overproduction of superoxide.

Bakalova, Rumiana  ,  Georgieva, Ekaterina  ,  Ivanova, Donika  ,  Zhelev, Zhivko  ,  Aoki, Ichio  ,  Saga, Tsuneo

6 ( 12 )  , pp.1922 - 1929 , 2015-09
This study shows that mitochondria-penetrating nitroxide probe (mito-TEMPO) allows detection of superoxide and visualization of mitochondrial dysfunction in living cells due to the effect of T1 shortening in MRI. Mitochondrial dysfunction was induced by treatment of cells with rotenone and 2-methoxyestradiol (2-ME/Rot). The MRI measurements were performed on 7T MRI. The 2-ME/Rot-treated cells were characterized by overproduction of superoxide, which was confirmed by a conventional dihydroethidium-test. In the presence of mito-TEMPO, the intensity of MRI signal in 2-ME/Rot-treated cells was ~30-40% higher, in comparison with that in non-treated cells or culture media. In model (cell-free) systems, we observed that superoxide, but not hydrogen peroxide, increased the intensity of T1-weighted MRI signal of mito-TEMPO. Moreover, the superoxide restores the T1-weighted MRI contrast of mito-TEMPOH - a non-contrast (diamagnetic) analogue of mito-TEMPO. This was also confirmed by using EPR spectroscopy. The results demonstrate that superoxide radical is involved in the enhancement of T1-weighted MRI contrast in living cells - in the absence and presence of mito-TEMPO. This report gives a direction for discovering new opportunities for functional MRI - for detection of metabolic activity, accompanied by overproduction of superoxide, as well as by disturbance of the balance between superoxide and hydrogen peroxide - a very important approach to clarify the fine molecular mechanisms in the regulation of a lot of pathologies. The visualization of mitochondrial activity in real-time can be crucial to clarify the molecular mechanism of the functional MRI in its commonly accepted definition - as a method for detection of neurovascular coupling.

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