Sparse-fur (spf) mouse is the ideal animal model to study the neuropathology of congenital ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency. Our current hypothesis implies that an ammonia-induced depletion of energy metabolism in the spf mouse, could be due to a reduction in the activities of the enzymes of the electron transport chain and a treatment with acetyl-L- carnitine could normalize this abnormality. We also hypothesized that there might be a differential degree of inhibition in synaptosomal and non-synaptic mitochondria, for the enzymes of the electron transport chain, caused by congenital hyperammonemia. We have therefore measured the activities of NADH- cytochrome C oxidoreductase, succinate cytochrome C oxidoreductase and cytochrome C oxidase in synaptosomes and non-synaptic mitochondria, isolated from spf mice and CD-1 controls with and without acetyl-L-carnitine treatment. Our results indicate a significant reduction (19-34%) in the activities of these complexes in synaptosomes in untreated spf mice, whereas in non-synaptic mitochondria, there was a tendency for the activities to decrease. Acetyl-L-carnitine treatment enhanced these activities (1564%) for all the three enzyme complexes and its effect was more prominent on succinate cytochrome C oxidoreductase activity (64%). These studies point out that: (a) ammonia-induced disturbances in the energy metabolism could be more pronounced in neuronal mitochondria, and (b) the effect of acetyl-L-carnitine on the restoration of cerebral ATP in hyperammonemia could be through an enhancement of the activities of various electron transport chain enzymes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Electron transport chain
- Non-synaptic mitochondria
- Ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency