American journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology

Dynamics of enhanced mitochondrial respiration in female compared with male rat cerebral arteries.

PMID 26276815


Mitochondrial respiration has never been directly examined in intact cerebral arteries. We tested the hypothesis that mitochondrial energetics of large cerebral arteries ex vivo are sex dependent. The Seahorse XFe24 analyzer was used to examine mitochondrial respiration in isolated cerebral arteries from adult male and female Sprague-Dawley rats. We examined the role of nitric oxide (NO) on mitochondrial respiration under basal conditions, using N(ω)-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester, and following pharmacological challenge using diazoxide (DZ), and also determined levels of mitochondrial and nonmitochondrial proteins using Western blot, and vascular diameter responses to DZ. The components of mitochondrial respiration including basal respiration, ATP production, proton leak, maximal respiration, and spare respiratory capacity were elevated in females compared with males, but increased in both male and female arteries in the presence of the NOS inhibitor. Although acute DZ treatment had little effect on mitochondrial respiration of male arteries, it decreased the respiration in female arteries. Levels of mitochondrial proteins in Complexes I-V and the voltage-dependent anion channel protein were elevated in female compared with male cerebral arteries. The DZ-induced vasodilation was greater in females than in males. Our findings show that substantial sex differences in mitochondrial respiratory dynamics exist in large cerebral arteries and may provide the mechanistic basis for observations that the female cerebral vasculature is more adaptable after injury.