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Low-level chemiluminescence of bovine heart submitochondrial particles

  • Enrique Cadenas
  • Alberto Boveris
  • Britton Chance
Publication Date
Mar 15, 1980


Submitochondrial particles from bovine heart mitochondria showed low-level chemiluminescence when supplemented with organic hydroperoxides. Chemiluminescence seems to measure integratively radical reactions involved in lipid peroxidation and related processes. Maximal light-emission was about 1500 counts/s and was reached 2–10min after addition of hydroperoxides. Ethyl hydroperoxide, cumene hydroperoxide and t-butyl hydroperoxide were effective in that order. Antimycin and rotenone increased chemiluminescence by 50–60%; addition of substrates, NADH and succinate did not produce marked changes in the observed chemiluminescence. Cyanide inhibited chemiluminescence; half-maximal inhibitory effect was obtained with 0.03mm-cyanide and the inhibition was competitive with respect to t-butyl hydroperoxide. Externally added cytochrome c (10–20μm) had a marked stimulatory effect on chemiluminescence, namely a 12-fold increase in light-emission of antimycin-inhibited submitochondrial particles. Stimulation of hydroperoxide-induced chemiluminescence of submitochondrial particles by cytochrome c was matched by a burst of O2 consumption. O2 is believed to participate in the chain radical reactions that lead to lipid peroxidation. Superoxide anion seems to be involved in the chemiluminescence reactions as long as light-emission was 50–60% inhibitible by superoxide dismutase. Singlet-oxygen quenchers, e.g. β-carotene and 1,4-diazabicyclo[2,2,2]-octane, affected light-emission. β-Carotene was effective either when incorporated into the membranes or added to the cuvette. The present paper suggests that singlet molecular oxygen is mainly responsible for the light-emission in the hydroperoxide-supplemented submitochondrial particles.

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