A critical role for mitochondrial dysfunction has been proposed in the pathogenesis of Down's syndrome (DS), a human multifactorial disorder caused by trisomy of chromosome 21, associated with mental retardation and early neurodegeneration. Previous studies from our group demonstrated in DS cells a decreased capacity of the mitochondrial ATP production system and overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in mitochondria. In this study we have tested the potential of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) - a natural polyphenol component of green tea - to counteract the mitochondrial energy deficit found in DS cells. We found that EGCG, incubated with cultured lymphoblasts and fibroblasts from DS subjects, rescued mitochondrial complex I and ATP synthase catalytic activities, restored oxidative phosphorylation efficiency and counteracted oxidative stress. These effects were associated with EGCG-induced promotion of PKA activity, related to increased cellular levels of cAMP and PKA-dependent phosphorylation of the NDUFS4 subunit of complex I. In addition, EGCG strongly promoted mitochondrial biogenesis in DS cells, as associated with increase in Sirt1-dependent PGC-1α deacetylation, NRF-1 and T-FAM protein levels and mitochondrial DNA content. In conclusion, this study shows that EGCG is a promoting effector of oxidative phosphorylation and mitochondrial biogenesis in DS cells, acting through modulation of the cAMP/PKA- and sirtuin-dependent pathways. EGCG treatment promises thus to be a therapeutic approach to counteract mitochondrial energy deficit and oxidative stress in DS.
Valenti D, De Rasmo D, Signorile A, Rossi L, de Bari L, Scala I, Granese B, Papa S, Vacca RA. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate prevents oxidative phosphorylation deficit and promotes mitochondrial biogenesis in human cells from subjects with Down's syndrome. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013 January Institute of Biomembranes and Bioenergetics, National Council of Research, Bari, Italy