Increased production of reactive oxygen species in hyperglycemic conditions requires dynamic change of mitochondrial morphology

Tianzheng Yu, James L. Robotham, Yisang Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

912 Scopus citations


Increased production of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) by hyperglycemia is recognized as a major cause of the clinical complications associated with diabetes and obesity [Brownlee, M. (2001) Nature 414, 813-820]. We observed that dynamic changes in mitochondrial morphology are associated with high glucose-induced overproduction of ROS. Mitochondria undergo rapid fragmentation with a concomitant increase in ROS formation after exposure to high glucose concentrations. Neither ROS increase nor mitochondrial fragmentation was observed after incubation of cells with the nonmetabolizable stereoisomer L-glucose. However, inhibition of mitochondrial pyruvate uptake that blocked ROS increase did not prevent mitochondrial fragmentation in high glucose conditions. Importantly, we found that mitochondrial fragmentation mediated by the fission process is a necessary component for high glucose-induced respiration increase and ROS overproduction. Extended exposure to high glucose conditions, which may mimic untreated diabetic conditions, provoked a periodic and prolonged increase in ROS production concomitant with mitochondrial morphology change. Inhibition of mitochondrial fission prevented periodic fluctuation of ROS production during high glucose exposure. These results indicate that the dynamic change of mitochondrial morphology in high glucose conditions contributes to ROS overproduction and that mitochondrial fission/ fusion machinery can be a previously unrecognized target to control acute and chronic production of ROS in hyperglycemia-associated disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2653-2658
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 21 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • DLP1/Drp1
  • Diabetes
  • Dynamin
  • Mitochondrial fission
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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