The respiratory properties of mitochondria isolated from the livers of rats infected with the parasite Fasciola hepatica were examined. Oligomycin-sensitive ATPase activity was also examined during the acute stage (2-4 weeks post-infection). At 2,4 and 6 weeks post-infection, mitochondrial respiration in vitro (supported by site I and site II substrates) was completely uncoupled. Limited respiratory control had returned by 11 weeks post-infection, but complete recovery was not observed even at 21 weeks post-infection. At 4 weeks post-infection, uncoupled respiration (from all three energy-conserving sites) was also markedly attenuated (to the greatest extent with NADH-linked substrate). Except for pyruvate-supported respiration, this attenuation was not apparent at any other stage of the infection. The attenuation of pyruvate-supported respiration declined, but was still present, at 6 weeks post-infection. In addition to these perturbations in mitochondrial respiratory properties, mitochondrial ATPase activity at 4 weeks post-infection was insensitive to oligomycin, indicating a change in the structural integrity of the ATPase complex.

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