Intracellular Oxidation-Reduction States in Vivo

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Science  17 Aug 1962:
Vol. 137, Issue 3529, pp. 499-508
DOI: 10.1126/science.137.3529.499


It now appears to be possible to continuously record changes in intracellular oxidation-reduction levels in terms of the fluorescence of reduced pyridine nucleotide in mitochondria of various tissues and organs in situ. Studies of kidney and brain cortex in the rat show that changes in fluorescence are not measurably affected by the presence of oxyhemoglobin. Nitrogen, sulfide, cyanide, and carbon monoxide cause increases in fluorescence to very nearly the same levels, and the increases are attributed to larger reduction of mitochondrial diphosphopyridine nucleotide. Amytal at a low blood concentration causes increased reduction in the kidney cortex, and at a high blood concentration, in the brain cortex. The qualitative response of the pyridine nucleotide to low oxygen concentrations shows the brain to be more sensitive than the kidney. The first measurable increase in pyridine nucleotide reduction observed on the brain occurs at a concentration of inspired oxygen of 8 percent. Breathing stops when the percentage increase of pyridine nucleotide reduction on the brain reaches about 90; at this point the percentage increase for the kidney is only about 30. This difference corresponds roughly to a tenfold difference in oxygen tension. Half-maximal increase in pyridine nucleotide reduction on the brain occurs at a concentration of inspired oxygen of about 4 percent and corresponds to an intracellular oxygen tension of about 0.2 mm (47).

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