Cardiac mitochondrial function, nitric oxide sensitivity and lipid composition following hypoxia acclimation in sablefish [RESEARCH ARTICLE]

Lucie Gerber, Kathy A. Clow, Tomer Katan, Mohamed Emam, Robine H. J. Leeuwis, Christopher C. Parrish, and Anthony K. Gamperl

In fishes, the effect of O2 limitation on cardiac mitochondrial function remains largely unexplored. The sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria) encounters considerable variations in environmental oxygen availability, and is an interesting model for studying the effects of hypoxia on fish cardiorespiratory function. We investigated how in vivo hypoxic acclimation (6 months at 40%+3 weeks at 20% air saturation) and in vitro anoxia-reoxygenation affected sablefish cardiac mitochondrial respiration and reactive oxygen species (ROS) release rates using high-resolution fluorespirometry. Further, we investigated how hypoxic acclimation affected the sensitivity of mitochondrial respiration to nitric oxide (NO), and compared mitochondrial lipid and fatty acid (FA) composition between groups. Hypoxic acclimation did not alter mitochondrial coupled or uncoupled respiration, or respiratory control ratio, ROS release rates, P50 or superoxide dismutase activity. However, it increased citrate synthase activity (by~20%), increased the sensitivity of mitochondrial respiration to NO inhibition [i.e., the NO IC50 was 25% lower], and enhanced the recovery of respiration (by 21%) and reduced ROS release rates (by 25-30%) post-anoxia. Further, hypoxic acclimation altered the mitochondria’s FA composition [increasing arachidonic acid (20:46) and eicosapentaenoic acid (20:53) proportions by 11 and 14%, respectively], and SIMPER analysis revealed that the phospholipid: sterol ratio was the largest contributor (24%) to the dissimilarity between treatments. Overall, these results suggest that hypoxic acclimation may protect sablefish cardiac bioenergetic function during or after periods of O2 limitation, and that this may be related to alterations in the mitochondria’s sensitivity to NO and to adaptive changes in membrane composition (fluidity).

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