Decreased NADH dehydrogenase and ubiquinol-cytochrome c oxidoreductase in peripheral arterial disease

Eric P. Brass, William R. Hiatt, Andrew W. Gardner, Charles L. Hoppel

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69 Scopus citations


Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is associated with muscle metabolic changes that may contribute to the disability in these patients. However, the biochemical defects in PAD have not been identified. The present study was undertaken to test the hypothesis that PAD is associated with specific defects in skeletal muscle electron transport chain activity. Seventeen patients with PAD and nine age-matched controls underwent gastrocnemius muscle biopsies. There were no differences in the mitochondrial content per gram of skeletal muscle as assessed by citrate synthase activity between the PAD patients and the control subjects. Skeletal muscle NADH dehydrogenase activity was decreased by 27% compared with controls when expressed per unit of citrate synthase activity. Expression of enzyme activities normalized to cytochrome c-oxygen oxidoreductase activity confirmed a 26% decrease in NADH dehydrogenase activity and also demonstrated a 38% decrease in ubiquinol-cytochrome c oxidoreductase activity. Thus PAD is associated with specific changes in muscle mitochondrial electron transport chain activities characterized by relative decreases in NADH dehydrogenase and ubiquinol-cytochrome c oxidoreductase activities, which may contribute to the metabolic abnormalities and decreased exercise performance in these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H603-H609
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number2 49-2
StatePublished - Feb 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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