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      Activated macrophages utilize glycolytic ATP to maintain mitochondrial membrane potential and prevent apoptotic cell death.

      Cell Death and Differentiation
      Adenosine Triphosphate, metabolism, Animals, Anti-Bacterial Agents, pharmacology, Antimycin A, Apoptosis, Caspase 3, Caspase 9, Cytochromes c, Glycolysis, Macrophage Activation, Macrophages, physiology, Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial, drug effects, Mice, Mitochondrial ADP, ATP Translocases, Oligomycins, Proton-Translocating ATPases, antagonists & inhibitors, bcl-2-Associated X Protein

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          We have previously analysed the bioenergetic consequences of activating J774.A1 macrophages (MΦ) with interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and found that there is a nitric oxide (NO)-dependent mitochondrial impairment and stabilization of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α, which synergize to activate glycolysis and generate large quantities of ATP. We now show, using tetramethylrhodamine methyl ester (TMRM) fluorescence and time-lapse confocal microscopy, that these cells maintain a high mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨ(m)) despite the complete inhibition of respiration. The maintenance of high ΔΨ(m) is due to the use of a significant proportion of glycolytically generated ATP as a defence mechanism against cell death. This is achieved by the reverse functioning of F(o)F(1)-ATP synthase and adenine nucleotide translocase (ANT). Treatment of activated MΦ with inhibitors of either of these enzymes, but not with inhibitors of the respiratory chain complexes I to IV, led to a collapse in ΔΨ(m) and to an immediate increase in intracellular [ATP], due to the prevention of ATP hydrolysis by the F(o)F(1)-ATP synthase. This collapse in ΔΨ(m) was followed by translocation of Bax from cytosol to the mitochondria, release of cytochrome c into the cytosol, activation of caspases 3 and 9 and subsequent apoptotic cell death. Our results indicate that during inflammatory activation 'glycolytically competent cells' such as MΦ use significant amounts of the glycolytically generated ATP to maintain ΔΨ(m) and thereby prevent apoptosis.

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