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    Mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy are constitutive and complex systems that ensure a healthy mitochondrial network through the segregation and subsequent degradation of damaged mitochondria. Disruption of these systems can lead to mitochondrial dysfunction and has been established as a central mechanism of ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. Emerging evidence suggests that mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy are integrated systems; however, the role of this relationship in the context of I/R injury remains unclear. To investigate this concept, we utilized primary cortical neurons isolated from the novel dual-reporter mitochondrial quality control knockin mice (C57BL/6-Gt(ROSA)26Sortm1(CAG-mCherry/GFP)Ganl/J) with conditional knockout (KO) of Drp1 to investigate changes in mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagic flux during in vitro I/R injury. Mitochondrial dynamics was quantitatively measured in an unbiased manner using a machine learning mitochondrial morphology classification system, which consisted of four different classifications: network, unbranched, swollen, and punctate. Evaluation of mitochondrial morphology and mitophagic flux in primary neurons exposed to oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) and reoxygenation (OGD/R) revealed extensive mitochondrial fragmentation and swelling, together with a significant upregulation in mitophagic flux. Furthermore, the primary morphology of mitochondria undergoing mitophagy was classified as punctate. Colocalization using immunofluorescence as well as western blot analysis revealed that the PINK1/Parkin pathway of mitophagy was activated following OGD/R. Conditional KO of Drp1 prevented mitochondrial fragmentation and swelling following OGD/R but did not alter mitophagic flux. These data provide novel evidence that Drp1 plays a causal role in the progression of I/R injury, but mitophagy does not require Drp1-mediated mitochondrial fission.


    Anthony R Anzell, Garrett M Fogo, Zoya Gurm, Sarita Raghunayakula, Joseph M Wider, Kathleen J Maheras, Katlynn J Emaus, Timothy D Bryson, Madison Wang, Robert W Neumar, Karin Przyklenk, Thomas H Sanderson. Mitochondrial fission and mitophagy are independent mechanisms regulating ischemia/reperfusion injury in primary neurons. Cell death & disease. 2021 May 12;12(5):475

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    PMID: 33980811

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