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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

On-line version ISSN 1414-431X


MOLNAR, A.M. et al. Evaluation by blue native polyacrylamide electrophoresis colorimetric staining of the effects of physical exercise on the activities of mitochondrial complexes in rat muscle. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2004, vol.37, n.7, pp.939-947. ISSN 1414-431X.

Blue native polyacrylamide electrophoresis (BN-PAGE) is a technique developed for the analysis of membrane complexes. Combined with histochemical staining, it permits the analysis and quantification of the activities of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation enzymes using whole muscle homogenates, without the need to isolate muscle mitochondria. Mitochondrial complex activities were measured by emerging gels in a solution containing all specific substrates for NADH dehydrogenase and cytochrome c oxidase enzymes (complexes I and IV, respectively) and the colored bands obtained were measured by optique densitometry. The objective of the present study was the application of BN-PAGE colorimetric staining for enzymatic characterization of mitochondrial complexes I and IV in rat muscles with different morphological and biochemical properties. We also investigated these activities at different times after acute exercise of rat soleus muscle. Although having fewer mitochondria than oxidative muscles, white gastrocnemius muscle presented a significantly higher activity (26.7 ± 9.5) in terms of complex I/V ratio compared to the red gastrocnemius (3.8 ± 0.65, P < 0.05) and soleus (9.8 ± 0.9, P < 0.001) muscles. Furthermore, the complex IV/V ratio of white gastrocnemius muscle was always significantly higher when compared to the other muscles. Ninety-five minutes of exhaustive physical exercise induced a decrease in complex I/V and complex IV/V ratios after all resting times (0, 3 and 6 h) compared to control (P < 0.05), probably reflecting the oxidative damage due to increasing free radical production in mitochondria. These results demonstrate the possible and useful application of BN-PAGE-histochemical staining to physical exercise studies.

Keywords : BN-PAGE; Colorimetric staining; Exhaustive physical exercise; Mitochondrial complexes.

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