Nicotinamide nucleotide transhydrogenase activity impacts mitochondrial redox balance and the development of hypertension in mice

Igor Leskov, Amber Neville, Xinggui Shen, Sibile Pardue, Christopher G. Kevil, D. Neil Granger, David M. Krzywanski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Oxidant stress contributes to the initiation and progression of hypertension (HTN) by enhancing endothelial dysfunction and/or causing perturbations in nitric oxide homeostasis. Differences in mitochondrial function may augment this process and provide insight into why age of onset and clinical outcomes differ among individuals from distinct ethnic groups. We have previously demonstrated that variation in normal mitochondrial function and oxidant production exists in endothelial cells from individuals of Caucasian and African-American ethnicity and that this variation contributes to endothelial dysfunction. To model these distinct mitochondrial redox phenotypes, we used C57Bl/6N (6N) and C57Bl/6J (6J) mice that also display unique mitochondrial functional properties due to the differential expression nicotinamide nucleotide transhydrogenase (NNT). We demonstrate that the absence of NNT in 6J cells led to distinct mitochondrial bioenergetic profiles and a pro-oxidative mitochondrial phenotype characterized by increased superoxide production and reduced glutathione peroxidase activity. Interestingly, we found that 6J animals have significantly higher systolic blood pressure compared to 6N animals, and this difference is exacerbated by angiotensin II treatment. The changes in pressure were accompanied by both mitochondrial and vascular dysfunction revealed by impaired respiratory control ratios and endothelial-dependent vessel dilation. All end points could be significantly ameliorated by treatment with the mitochondria-targeted superoxide dismutase mimetic MitoTEMPO demonstrating a critical role for the production of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species in the development of HTN in these animals. Taken together, these data indicate that the absence of NNT leads to variation in mitochondrial function and contributes to a unique mitochondrial redox phenotype that influences susceptibility to HTN by contributing to endothelial and vascular dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-121
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Society of Hypertension
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Mitochondria
  • NNT
  • reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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