The effect of hypoxic exposure on various mitochondrial enzymes and on cell mitochondrial genomic content was studied in two types of mammalian cells. Hypoxia depressed the activity of six enzymes to the same degree. The kinetics of depression and of recovery during reexposure to normoxia were statistically similar for three marker enzymes. Despite the global and symmetrical decrease in enzyme activities, mitochondrial DNA remained constant. This suggests either symmetrical loss of mitochondrial enzymes from all mitochondria or complete loss of enzymes from a subpopulation of mitochondria with retention of an intact mitochondrial genome.

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