Bioenergetics of the heart at high altitude: Environmental hypoxia imposes profound transformations on the myocardial process of ATP synthesis

Baltazar D. Reynafarje, Emilio Marticorena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The low concentration of O2 in the thin air at high altitude is undoubtedly the reason for the remarkable modifications in the structure and function of the heart, lung, and blood of humans permanently living under these conditions. The effect of natural hypoxia on the energy metabolism of the cell is however not well understood. Here we study the proces of ATP synthesis in the heart of guinea pigs native to high altitude (4500 m) as compared with those native to sea level. The following are the novel findings of this study. (1) The rates and extents of ATP synthesis in the presence of low concentrations of ADP (50, i.e. the concentration of ADP at which 50% of the catalytic sites are filled with ADP and/or ATP, is the same (∼74.7 μM). (4) In the physiological range of ADP concentrations, the phosphorylation potential ΔGP is significantly higher at high altitude than at sea level. It is concluded that the molecular mechanism of energy transduction is profoundly modified at high altitude in order to readily and efficiently generate ATP in the presence of low concentrations of O2 and ADP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-412
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes
Volume34
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2002

Keywords

  • ATP synthesis
  • Hypoxia
  • Mitochondria
  • Oxidative phosphorylation
  • Oxygen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology

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