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Skeletal muscle dysfunction is associated with derangements in mitochondrial bioenergetics (but not UCP3) in a rodent model of sepsis

Zolfaghari, P S; Carré, J E; Parker, N; Curtin, N A; Duchen, M R; Singer, M


P S Zolfaghari

J E Carré

N Parker

N A Curtin

M R Duchen

M Singer


Muscle dysfunction is a common feature of severe sepsis and multi-organ failure. Recent evidence implicates bioenergetic dysfunction and oxidative damage as important underlying pathophysiological mechanisms. Increased abundance of uncoupling protein-3 (UCP-3) in sepsis suggests increased mitochondrial proton leak, which may reduce mitochondrial coupling efficiency but limit ROS production. Using a murine model, we examined metabolic, cardiovascular and skeletal muscle contractile changes following induction of peritoneal sepsis in wild-type and Ucp3(-/-) mice. Mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm) was measured using two-photon microscopy in living diaphragm, and contractile function was measured in diaphragm muscle strips. The kinetic relationship between membrane potential and oxygen consumption was determined using a modular kinetic approach in isolated mitochondria. Sepsis was associated with significant whole body metabolic suppression, hypothermia and cardiovascular dysfunction. Maximal force generation was reduced and fatigue accelerated in ex vivo diaphragm muscle strips from septic mice. Mitochondrial membrane potential was lower in the isolated diaphragm from septic mice despite normal substrate oxidation kinetics and proton leak in skeletal muscle mitochondria. Even though wild-type mice exhibited an absolute 26 ± 6% higher UCP-3 protein abundance at 24 hours, no differences were seen in whole animal or diaphragm physiology, nor in survival rates, between wild-type and Ucp3(-/-) mice. In conclusion, this murine sepsis model shows a hypometabolic phenotype with evidence of significant cardiovascular and muscle dysfunction. This was associated with lower Δψm and alterations in mitochondrial ATP turnover and phosphorylation pathway. However, UCP-3 does not play an important functional role, despite its upregulation.


Zolfaghari, P. S., Carré, J. E., Parker, N., Curtin, N. A., Duchen, M. R., & Singer, M. (2015). Skeletal muscle dysfunction is associated with derangements in mitochondrial bioenergetics (but not UCP3) in a rodent model of sepsis.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 18, 2015
Publication Date May 1, 2015
Deposit Date Aug 24, 2018
Publicly Available Date Aug 29, 2018
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 308
Issue 9
Pages E713-25
Public URL


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