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This chapter examines the regulatory framework governing the use of human embryos and gametes in treatment and research in the United Kingdom. This framework, overseen by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), permits the use of germline genome modification in human embryos for specific research purposes, but it does not currently allow such modified embryos to be used in treatment. The chapter goes on to consider how germline genome modification may become a licensable treatment in the future, building on the recent experience of regulating research into mitochondrial donation and its clinical application in the United Kingdom. The legal and ethical challenges raised against the use of mitochondrial donation (and likely to be raised against the clinical use of germline genome modification) are also considered, including concerns arising out of EU legislation.
Weaning is known to induce important nutritional and energetic stress in piglets. Low-birthweight (LBW) piglets, now frequently observed in swine production, are more likely to be affected. The weaning period is also associated with dysfunctional immune responses, uncontrolled inflammation and oxidative stress conditions that are recognized risk factors for infections and diseases. Mounting evidence indicates that mitochondria, the main cellular sources of energy in the form of adenosine 5′ triphosphate (ATP) and primary sites of reactive oxygen species production, are related to immunity, inflammation and bacterial pathogenesis. However, no information is currently available regarding the link between mitochondrial energy production and oxidative stress in weaned piglets. The objective of this study was to characterize markers of cellular and mitochondrial energy metabolism and oxidative status in both normal-birthweight (NBW) and LBW piglets throughout the peri-weaning period. To conduct the study, 30 multiparous sows were inseminated and litters were standardized to 12 piglets. All the piglets were weighted at day 1 and 120 piglets were selected and assigned to 1 of 2 experimental groups: NBW (n = 60, mean weight of 1.73 ± 0.01 kg) and LBW piglets weighing less than 1.2 kg (n = 60, 1.01 ± 0.01 kg). Then, 10 piglets from each group were selected at 14, 21 (weaning), 23, 25, 29 and 35 days of age to collect plasma and organ (liver, intestine and kidney) samples. Analysis revealed that ATP concentrations were lower in liver of piglets after weaning than during lactation (P < 0.05) thus suggesting a significant impact of weaning stress on mitochondrial energy production. Oxidative damage to DNA (8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine, 8-OHdG) and proteins (carbonyls) measured in plasma increased after weaning and this coincides with a rise in enzymatic antioxidant activity of glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) (P < 0.05). Mitochondrial activities of both GPx and SOD are also significantly higher (P < 0.05) in kidney of piglets after weaning. Additionally, oxidative damage to macromolecules is more important in LBW piglets as measured concentrations of 8-OHdG and protein carbonyls are significantly higher (P < 0.05) in plasma and liver samples, respectively, than for NBW piglets. These results provide novel information about the nature, intensity and duration of weaning stress by revealing that weaning induces mitochondrial dysfunction and cellular oxidative stress conditions which last for at least 2 weeks and more severely impact smaller piglets.
Several studies have proposed that cell-free DNA (cfDNA) is a potential biomarker present in follicular fluid (FF) for oocyte quality. Recently we reported that mitochondria-derived cfDNA (mt-cfDNA) closely reflects the amount of cfDNA in FFs. The present study investigated the mechanism regulating mt-cfDNA secretion from porcine granulosa cells. Oocytes and cumulus cell complexes or granulosa cells (GCs) were cultured in maturation medium for 24 or 48 h respectively. Then, nuclear-derived cell-free DNA (n-cfDNA) or mt-cfDNA contents in the spent medium were examined using real-time polymerase chain reaction. When 10 μM of MG132, a proteasome inhibitor, was added to the culture medium, cellular viability of both COCs and GCs decreased and n-cfDNA significantly increased in the culture medium, whereas mt-cfDNA significantly decreased. Supplementation of the culture medium with GW4869, an inhibitor of intracellular vesicle formation, significantly decreased the mt-cfDNA, whereas no effect was observed on n-cfDNA in the medium of both COCs and GCs. Furthermore, the addition of bafilomycin, an inhibitor of autophagy to the culture medium significantly increased mt-cfDNA in the culture medium. After filtration (0.22 μm) and centrifugation (23,000 g), the mt-cfDNA content of the medium decreased significantly. In conclusion, the proteasomal mitochondrial quality control system is upstream of mt-cfDNA secretion and autophagy plays a role in cellular digestion of mitochondrial DNA in the cytoplasm. It is further suggested that dsDNA is enclosed in certain vesicles or associated with small molecules and secreted into the medium.
Vitamin D receptor expression and associated function have been reported in various muscle models, including C2C12, L6 cell lines and primary human skeletal muscle cells. It is believed that 1,25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3), the active form of vitamin D, has a direct regulatory role in skeletal muscle function, where it participates in myogenesis, cell proliferation, differentiation, regulation of protein synthesis and mitochondrial metabolism through activation of various cellular signalling cascades, including the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway(s). It has also been suggested that 1,25(OH)2D3 and its associated receptor have genomic targets, resulting in regulation of gene expression, as well as non-genomic functions that can alter cellular behaviour through binding and modification of targets not directly associated with transcriptional regulation. The molecular mechanisms of vitamin D signalling, however, have not been fully clarified. Vitamin D inadequacy or deficiency is associated with muscle fibre atrophy, increased risk of chronic musculoskeletal pain, sarcopenia and associated falls, and may also decrease RMR. The main purpose of the present review is to describe the molecular role of vitamin D in skeletal muscle tissue function and metabolism, specifically in relation to proliferation, differentiation and protein synthesis processes. In addition, the present review also includes discussion of possible genomic and non-genomic pathways of vitamin D action.
Photoreceptors have high energy demands and densely packed mitochondria through which light passes before phototransduction. Old world primates including humans have three cone photoreceptor types mediating color vision with short (S blue), medium (M green), and long (L red) wavelength sensitivities. However, S-cones are enigmatic. They comprise <10% of the total cone population, their responses saturate early, and they are susceptible in aging and disease. Here, we show that primate S-cones actually have few mitochondria and are fueled by glycolysis, not by mitochondrial respiration. Glycolysis has a limited ability to sustain activity, potentially explaining early S-cone saturation. Mitochondria act as optical filters showing reduced light transmission at 400–450 nm where S-cones are most sensitive (420 nm). This absorbance is likely to arise in a mitochondrial porphyrin that absorbs strongly in the Soret band. Hence, reducing mitochondria will improve S-cone sensitivity but result in increased glycolysis as an alternative energy source, potentially increasing diabetic vulnerability due to restricted glucose access. Further, glycolysis carries a price resulting in premature functional decline as seen in aged S-cones. Soret band absorption may also impact on mitochondrial rich M and L cones by reducing sensitivity at the lower end of their spectral sensitivity range resulting in increased differentiation from S-cone responses. These data add to the list of unique characteristic of S-cones and may also explain aspects of their vulnerability.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer globally. CRC risk is increased by obesity, and by its lifestyle determinants notably physical inactivity and poor nutrition. Obesity results in increased inflammation and oxidative stress which cause genomic damage and contribute to mitochondrial dysregulation and CRC risk. The mitochondrial dysfunction associated with obesity includes abnormal mitochondrial size, morphology and reduced autophagy, mitochondrial biogenesis and expression of key mitochondrial regulators. Although there is strong evidence that increased adiposity increases CRC risk, evidence for the effects of intentional weight loss on CRC risk is much more limited. In model systems, energy depletion leads to enhanced mitochondrial integrity, capacity, function and biogenesis but the effects of obesity and weight loss on mitochondria in the human colon are not known. We are using weight loss following bariatric surgery to investigate the effects of altered adiposity on mitochondrial structure and function in human colonocytes. In summary, there is strong and consistent evidence in model systems and more limited evidence in human subjects that over-feeding and/or obesity result in mitochondrial dysfunction and that weight loss might mitigate or reverse some of these effects.
Germ plasm-related structures (GPRS) are known to accompany meiotic cell differentiation but their dynamics are still poorly understood. In this study, we analyzed the ultrastructural mechanisms of GPRS transformation during oogenesis and spermatogenesis of the bivalve mollusc Ruditapes philippinarum (Manila clam), exploring patterns of GPRS activity occurring at meiosis onset, sex-specific difference/similarity of such patterns, and the involvement of mitochondria during GPRS-assigned events. In the two sexes, the zygotene–pachytene stage of meiosis is anticipated by three shared steps. First, the dispersion of germ plasm granules containing the germ line determinant VASA occurs. Second, the VASA protein deriving from germ plasm granules enters neighbouring mitochondria and appears to induce mitochondrial matter release, as supported by cytochrome B localization outside the mitochondria. Third, intranuclear VASA entrance occurs and the protein appears involved in chromatin reorganization, as supported by VASA localization in synaptonemal complexes. In spermatogenesis, these three steps are sufficient for the normal course of meiosis. In oogenesis, these are followed by the action of ‘germ plasm granule formation complex’, a novel type of structure that appears alternative to the Balbiani body. The possibility of germ plasm involvement in reproductive technologies is also suggested.
Endoperoxides kill malaria parasites via cleavage of their endoperoxide bridge by haem or iron, leading to generation of cytotoxic oxygen-centred radicals. In view of the Leishmania parasites having a relatively compromised anti-oxidant defense and high iron content, this study aims to establish the underlying mechanism(s) accounting for the apoptotic-like death of Leishmania promastigotes by artemisinin, an endoperoxide. The formation of reactive oxygen species was confirmed by flow cytometry and was accompanied by inhibition of mitochondrial complexes I–III and II–III. However, this did not translate into a generation of mitochondrial superoxide or decrease in oxygen consumption, indicating minimal impairment of the electron transport chain. Artemisinin caused depolarization of the mitochondrial membrane along with a substantial depletion of adenosine triphosphatase (ATP), but it was not accompanied by enhancement of ATP hydrolysis. Collectively, the endoperoxide-mediated radical formation by artemisinin in Leishmania promastigotes was the key step for triggering its antileishmanial activity, leading secondarily to mitochondrial dysfunction indicating that endoperoxides represent a promising therapeutic strategy against Leishmania worthy of pharmacological consideration.
Digyny, the presence of a third pronucleus due to the failure of second polar body extrusion, is problematic after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) practices. Mitochondria have critical roles such as production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and regulation of Ca2+ homeostasis during oocyte maturation, fertilization and the following development, while the regulation of meiotic spindle formation, chromosome segregation, pronuclear apposition and cytokinesis is closely associated with the cytoskeleton. In this study, mitochondrial membrane potential, distribution of F-actin and γ-tubulin, and the ultrastructure of three pronuclear (3PN) oocytes were investigated. 3PN oocytes after ICSI procedure were taken from patients who were enrolled in assisted reproduction programmes. For mitochondrial membrane potential analysis, fresh oocytes stained with the mitochondrial membrane potential probe JC-1, were evaluated under fluorescence microscopy. The mitochondrial membrane potential of three pronuclear oocytes showed similar results to normal zygotes. γ-Tubulin was stained strongly at the subplasmalemmal domain and microfilaments were localized at the cortical, but not the perinuclear, area. Cytoplasmic halos were moderately or not detected by electron microscopy; lipofuscin granules, degenerated mitochondria, and multilamellated bodies were seen in the ooplasm. Immunohistochemistry and electron microscopic findings suggested that mitochondrial membrane potential has no direct effect on second polar body extrusion. This abnormality can be associated with an altered cytoskeleton due to poor oocyte quality.
Candidatus Midichloria mitochondrii is a maternally inherited bacterium of ticks with a unique intra-mitochondrial lifestyle. Here, we investigate on the evolutionary history of these associations and the degree of Midichloria–tick specificity. While previous surveys used the 16S rRNA gene as an exclusive molecular marker, we rather developed a multi-locus typing method based on four more variable housekeeping genes (groEL, rpoB, dnaK and ftsZ) and on one flagellum gene (fliC) present in Midichloria genomes. Using this method, multi-locus phylogenetic analyses revealed the structuring of a wide Midichloria genetic diversity into three distinct lineages associated with ticks. Overall, two distinct evolutionary strategies are obvious depending on lineage: two Midichloria lineages are generalists with infections acquired through horizontal transfers between distantly related tick species but one other Midichloria lineage rather show a high specificity degree to the Ixodes tick genus. This pattern suggests a capacity of certain Midichloria strains to maintain infections in only limited range of related tick species. These different infection strategies of Midichloria highlight an unexpected variability in their dependency to their tick hosts. We further conjecture that this pattern is also likely to indicate variability in their effects on ticks.
Mosquitoes’ importance as vectors of pathogens that drive disease underscores the importance of precise and comparable methods of taxa identification among their species. While several molecular targets have been used to study mosquitoes since the initiation of PCR in the 1980s, its application to mosquito identification took off in the early 1990s. This review follows the research's recent journey into the use of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) cytochrome oxidase 1 (COI or COX1) as a DNA barcode target for mosquito species identification – a target whose utility for discriminating mosquitoes is now escalating. The pros and cons of using a mitochondrial genome target are discussed with a broad sweep of the mosquito literature suggesting that nuclear introgressions of mtDNA sequences appear to be uncommon and that the COI works well for distantly related taxa and shows encouraging utility in discriminating more closely related species such as cryptic/sibling species groups. However, the utility of COI in discriminating some closely related groups can be problematic and investigators are advised to proceed with caution as problems with incomplete lineage sorting and introgression events can result in indistinguishable COI sequences appearing in reproductively independent populations. In these – if not all – cases, it is advisable to run a nuclear marker alongside the mtDNA and thus the utility of the ribosomal DNA – and in particular the internal transcribed spacer 2 – is also briefly discussed as a useful counterpoint to the COI.
The treatment of leishmaniasis relies primarily on highly toxic, parenterally administered drugs. Therefore, the search for more effective and safer drugs is considered a priority for leishmaniasis’ control. The antileishmanial activity of the oestrogen receptor modulator tamoxifen was previously described in experimental models of leishmaniasis. However, the mechanisms responsible for the antileishmanial activity of tamoxifen remain unknown. Since tamoxifen has been shown to affect plasma and intracellular membranes in tumour cells, the aim of this study was to investigate the activity of the drug on Leishmania amazonensis membranes. Through morphological analysis and labelling with propidium iodide and DiSBAC2(3), we demonstrated that tamoxifen led to plasma membrane depolarization without general membrane disruption or permeabilization. Tamoxifen also caused mitochondrial damage, with loss of membrane potential, as shown by Rhodamine 123 accumulation. Mitochondrial swelling followed, signalling the mitochondrial dysfunction. Therefore, the effect of tamoxifen on Leishmania is mediated, at least in part, by disorder in parasite's membranes. These alterations are sufficient to trigger a series of lethal events.
Parthenotes are characterized by poor in vitro developmental potential either due to the ploidy status or the absence of paternal factors. In the present study, we demonstrate the beneficial role of sperm-derived factors (SDF) on the in vitro development of mouse parthenotes. Mature (MII) oocytes collected from superovulated Swiss albino mice were activated using strontium chloride (SrCl2) in the presence or absence of various concentrations of SDF in M16 medium. The presence of SDF in activation medium did not have any significant influence on the activation rate. However, a significant increase in the developmental potential of the embryos and increased blastocyst rate (P < 0.01) was observed at 50 µg/ml concentration. Furthermore, the activated oocytes from this group exhibited early cleavage and cortical distribution of cortical granules that was similar to that of normally fertilized zygotes. Culturing 2-cell stage parthenotes in the presence of SDF significantly improved the developmental potential (P < 0.05) indicating that they also play a significant role in embryo development. In conclusion, artificial activation of oocytes with SDF can improve the developmental potential of parthenotes in vitro.
Piglets are characteristically cold intolerant and thus susceptible to high mortality. However, browning of white adipose tissue (WAT) can induce non-shivering thermogenesis as a potential strategy to facilitate the animal’s response to cold. Whether cold exposure can induce browning of subcutaneous WAT (sWAT) in piglets in a similar manner as it can in humans remains largely unknown. In this study, piglets were exposed to acute cold (4°C, 10 h) or chronic cold exposure (8°C, 15 days), and the genes and proteins of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1)-dependent and independent thermogenesis, mitochondrial biogenesis, lipogenic and lipolytic processes were analysed. Interestingly, acute cold exposure induced browning of porcine sWAT, smaller adipocytes and the upregulated expression of UCP1, PGC1α, PGC1β, C/EBPβ, Cidea, UCP3, CKMT1 and PM20D1. Conversely, chronic cold exposure impaired the browning process, reduced mitochondrial numbers and the expression of browning markers, including UCP1, PGC1α and PRDM16. The present study demonstrated that acute cold exposure (but not chronic cold exposure) induces porcine sWAT browning. Thus, browning of porcine sWAT could be a novel strategy to balance the body temperature of piglets, and thus could be protective against cold exposure.
Obesity is strongly associated with insulin resistance (IR), along with mitochondrial dysfunction to metabolically active tissues and increased production of reactive O2 species (ROS). Foods rich in antioxidants such as wheat germ (WG), protect tissues from damage due to ROS and modulate some negative effects of obesity. This study examined the effects of WG supplementation on markers of IR, mitochondrial substrate metabolism and innate antioxidant markers in two metabolically active tissues (i.e. liver and heart) of C57BL/6 mice fed a high-fat–high-sucrose (HFS) diet. Male C57BL/6 mice, 6-week-old, were randomised into four dietary treatment groups (n 12 mice/group): control (C, 10 % fat kcal), C+10 % WG, HFS (60 % fat kcal) or HFS+10 % WG (HFS+WG). After 12 weeks of treatment, HFS+WG mice had significantly less visceral fat (−16 %, P=0·006) compared with the HFS group. WG significantly reduced serum insulin (P=0·009), the insulinotropic hormone, gastric inhibitory peptide (P=0·0003), and the surrogate measure of IR, homoeostatic model assessment of IR (P=0·006). HFS diet significantly elevated (45 %, P=0·02) cardiac complex 2 mitochondrial VO2, suggesting increased metabolic stress, whereas WG stabilised this effect to the level of control. Consequently, genes which mediate antioxidant defense and mitochondrial biogenesis (superoxide dismutase 2 (Sod2) and PPARγ coactivator 1-α (Pgc1a), respectively) were significantly reduced (P<0·05) in the heart of the HFS group, whereas WG supplementation tended to up-regulate both genes. WG significantly increased hepatic gene expression of Sod2 (P=0·048) but not Pgc1a. Together, these results showed that WG supplementation in HFS diet, reduced IR and improved cardiac mitochondrial metabolic functions.
The quality of dietary lipids in the maternal diet can programme the offspring to diseases in later life. We investigated whether the maternal intake of palm oil or interesterified fat, substitutes for trans-unsaturated fatty acids (FA), induces metabolic changes in the adult offspring. During pregnancy and lactation, C57BL/6 female mice received normolipidic diets containing partially hydrogenated vegetable fat rich in trans-unsaturated fatty acids (TG), palm oil (PG), interesterified fat (IG) or soyabean oil (CG). After weaning, male offspring from all groups received the control diet until day 110. Plasma glucose and TAG and liver FA profiles were ascertained. Liver mitochondrial function was accessed with high-resolution respirometry by measuring VO2, fluorimetry for detection of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) production and mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake. The results showed that the IG offspring presented a 20 % increase in plasma glucose and both the IG and TG offspring presented a 2- and 1·9-fold increase in TAG, respectively, when compared with CG offspring. Liver MUFA and PUFA contents decreased in the TG and IG offspring when compared with CG offspring. Liver MUFA content also decreased in the PG offspring. These modifications in FA composition possibly affected liver mitochondrial function, as respiration was impaired in the TG offspring and H2O2 production was higher in the IG offspring. In addition, mitochondrial Ca2+ retention capacity was reduced by approximately 40 and 55 % in the TG and IG offspring, respectively. In conclusion, maternal consumption of trans-unsaturated and interesterified fat affected offspring health by compromising mitochondrial bioenergetics and lipid metabolism in the liver.
Xanthohumol (Xan) is a natural constituent of human nutrition. Little is known about its actions on leishmanial parasites and their mitochondria as putative target. Therefore, we determined the antileishmanial activity of Xan and resveratrol (Res, as alternative compound with antileishmanial activity) with respect to mitochondria in Leishmania amazonensis promastigotes/amastigotes (LaP/LaA) in comparison with their activity in peritoneal macrophages from mouse (PMM) and macrophage cell line J774A.1 (J774). Mechanistic studies were conducted in Leishmania tarentolae promastigotes (LtP) and mitochondrial fractions isolated from LtP. Xan and Res demonstrated antileishmanial activity in LaA [half inhibitory concentration (IC50): Xan 7 µm, Res 14 µm]; while they had less influence on the viability of PMM (IC50: Xan 70 µm, Res >438 µm). In contrast to Res, Xan strongly inhibited oxygen consumption in Leishmania (LtP) but not in J774 cells. This was based on the inhibition of the mitochondrial electron transfer complex II/III by Xan, which was less pronounced with Res. Neither Xan nor Res increased mitochondrial superoxide release in LtP, while both decreased the mitochondrial membrane potential in LtP. Bioenergetic studies showed that LtP mitochondria have no spare respiratory capacity in contrast to mitochondria in J774 cells and can therefore much less adapt to stress by mitochondrial inhibitors, such as Xan. These data show that Xan may have antileishmanial activity, which is mediated by mitochondrial inhibition.
Decrease in muscle mass and performance with ageing is one of the main factors of frailty in the elderly. Maintenance of muscle performance by involving in physical activities is essential to increase independence and quality of life among elderly. The use of natural compounds with ergogenic activity in old people would increase the effect of moderate exercises in the maintenance of physiological muscle capacity. Resveratrol (RSV), a polyphenol found in walnuts, berries and grapes, shows this ergogenic activity. By using young, mature and old mice as models, we have found that RSV improves muscle performance in mature and old animals but not in young animals. Without showing significant effect by itself, RSV primed the effect of exercise by increasing endurance, coordination and strength in old animals. This effect was accompanied by a higher protection against oxidative damage and an increase in mitochondrial mass. RSV increased catalase and superoxide dismutase protein levels in muscle and primed exercise to reverse the decrease in their activities during ageing. Furthermore, RSV increased the level of mitochondrial mass markers such as cytochrome C, mitochondrial transcription factor A and nuclear respiratory factor-1 in muscle in exercised animals. Our results indicate that RSV can be considered an ergogenic compound that helps maintain muscle performance during ageing and subsequently reduces frailty and increases muscle performance in old individuals practising moderate exercise.