Measuring liver mitochondrial oxygen consumption and proton leak kinetics to estimate mitochondrial respiration in holstein dairy cattle

Heidi A Rossow, Gabriela Acetoze, John Champagne, Jon J Ramsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Oxygen consumption, proton motive force (PMF) and proton leak are measurements of mitochondrial respiration, or how well mitochondria are able to convert NADH and FADH into ATP. Since mitochondria are also the primary site for oxygen use and nutrient oxidation to carbon dioxide and water, how efficiently they use oxygen and produce ATP directly relates to the efficiency of nutrient metabolism, nutrient requirements of the animal, and health of the animal. The purpose of this method is to examine mitochondrial respiration, which can be used to examine the effects of different drugs, diets and environmental effects on mitochondrial metabolism. Results include oxygen consumption measured as proton dependent respiration (State 3) and proton leak dependent respiration (State 4). The ratio of State 3 / State 4 respiration is defined as respiratory control ratio (RCR) and can represent mitochondrial energetic efficiency. Mitochondrial proton leak is a process that allows dissipation of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) by uncoupling oxidative phosphorylation from ADP decreasing the efficiency of ATP synthesis. Oxygen and TRMP+ sensitive electrodes with mitochondrial substrates and electron transport chain inhibitors are used to measure State 3 and State 4 respiration, mitochondrial membrane PMF (or the potential to produce ATP) and proton leak. Limitations to this method are that liver tissue must be as fresh as possible and all biopsies and assays must be performed in less than 10 h. This limits the number of samples that can be collected and processed by a single person in a day to approximately 5. However, only 1 g of liver tissue is needed, so in large animals, such as dairy cattle, the amount of sample needed is small relative to liver size and there is little recovery time needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere58387
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number141
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018


  • Biochemistry
  • Dairy cow liver biopsy
  • Issue 141
  • Liver mitochondria isolation
  • Mitochondrial membrane potential
  • Mitochondrial oxygen consumption
  • Mitochondrial protein leak kinetics
  • Proton motive force
  • Respiratory control ratio
  • State 3 respiration
  • State 4 respiration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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