Alterations in mitochondrial function play an important role in the development of various diseases, such as obesity, insulin resistance, steatohepatitis, atherosclerosis and cancer. However, accurate assessment of mitochondrial respiration ex vivo is limited and remains highly challenging. Using our novel method, we measured mitochondrial oxygen consumption (OCR) and extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) of metabolically relevant tissues ex vivo to investigate the impact of different metabolic stressors on mitochondrial function.
Comparative analyses of OCR and ECAR were performed in tissue biopsies of young mice fed 12 weeks standard-control (STD), high-fat (HFD), high-sucrose (HSD), or western diet (WD), matured mice with HFD, and 2year-old mice aged on STD with and without fasting.
While diets had only marginal effects on mitochondrial respiration, respiratory chain complexes II and IV were reduced in adipose tissue (AT). Moreover, matured HFD-fed mice showed a decreased hepatic metabolic flexibility and prolonged aging increased OCR in brown AT. Interestingly, fasting boosted pancreatic and hepatic OCR while decreasing weight of those organs. Furthermore, ECAR measurements in AT could indicate its lipolytic capacity.
Using ex vivo tissue measurements, we could extensively analyze mitochondrial function of liver, AT, pancreas and heart revealing effects of metabolic stress, especially aging.