The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology

Hypoxia decreases ROS level in human fibroblasts.

PMID 28483665


We have previously demonstrated that cells adapt to hypoxia using different metabolic reprogramming mechanisms depending on metabolism. We now investigate how the different adapting mechanisms affect reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, and how ROS levels and cellular metabolism are linked. We show that when skin fibroblasts grew under short-term hypoxia (1% oxygen tension) ROS level markedly decreased (-50%) whatever substrate was available to the cells. Indeed, cellular ROS level linearly and directly decreased with oxygen tension. However, these relationships cannot explain the progressive ROS level decrease observed after prolonged cells hypoxia exposure. In glucose-enriched medium reduced mitochondrial mass and greater fragmentation are observed, both clear-cut indications of mitophagy suggesting that this is responsible for cellular ROS level decrease. Otherwise, in glucose-free medium exposure to prolonged hypoxia resulted in only minor mass reduction, but significantly enhanced expression of antioxidant enzymes. Interestingly, cellular ROS levels were lower in glucose-free compared to glucose-enriched medium under either normoxic or hypoxic conditions. Taken together, these findings reveal that in primary human fibroblasts hypoxia induces a decline in ROS and that different metabolism-dependent mechanisms contribute it, besides the major oxygen concentration decrease. In addition, the present data support the notion that metabolisms generating fewer ROS are associated with lower HIF-1α stabilization.