Oxidative damage to mitochondrial DNA and activity of mitochondrial enzymes in chronic active lesions of multiple sclerosis

Fengmin Lu, Mary Selak, John O'Connor, Sidney Croul, Carlos Lorenzana, Catalin Butunoi, Bernadette Kalman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

263 Citations (Scopus)


Soluble products of activated immune cells include reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide (NO) with a high potential to induce biochemical modifications and degenerative changes in areas of inflammation in the central nervous system (CNS). Previously, we demonstrated an increased production of ROS by activated mononuclear cells (MNC) of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) compared to those of controls, and development of oxidative damage to total DNA in association with inflammation in chronic active plaques. The current study aimed to determine whether mitochondrial (mt)DNA is affected by oxidative damage, and whether oxidative damage to mitochondrial macromolecules (including mtDNA) is associated with a decline in the activity of mitochondrial enzyme complexes. Using molecular and biochemical methods we demonstrate a trend for impaired NADH dehydrogenase (DH) activity and a possible compensatory increase in complex IV activity in association with oxidative damage to mtDNA in chronic active plaques. Immunohistochemistry confirms the increase of oxidative damage to DNA predominantly located in the cytoplasmic compartment of cells in chronic active plaques. These observations suggest that oxidative damage to macromolecules develops in association with inflammation in the CNS, and may contribute to a decline of energy metabolism in affected cells. As observed in neurodegenerative diseases of non-inflammatory origin, decreased ATP synthesis can ultimately lead to cell death or degeneration. Therefore, elucidation of this pathway in MS deserves further studies which may identify neuroprotective strategies to prevent tissue degeneration and the associated clinical disability. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-103
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 15 2000


  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Oxidative damage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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