In the present study, the effect of vitamin E (α-tocopherol) on mice skeletal muscle mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative damage induced by an in vivo acute and severe hypobaric hypoxic insult (48 h at a barometric pressure equivalent to 8500 m) has been investigated. Male mice (n=24) were randomly divided into the following four groups (n=6): control (C), hypoxia (H), vitamin E (VE; 60 mg/kg of body weight intraperitoneally, three times/week for 3 weeks) and hypoxia+VE (HVE). A significant increase in mitochondrial protein CGs (carbonyl groups) was found in the H group compared with the C group. Confirming previous observations from our group, hypoxia induced mitochondrial dysfunction, as identified by altered respiratory parameters. Hypoxia exposure increased Bax content and decreased the Bcl-2/Bax ratio, whereas Bcl-2 remained unchanged. Inner and outer mitochondrial membrane integrity were significantly affected by hypoxia exposure; however, vitamin E treatment attenuated the effect of hypoxia on mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation and on the levels of CGs. Vitamin E supplementation also prevented the Bax and Bcl-2/Bax ratio impairments caused by hypoxia, as well as the decrease in inner and outer mitochondrial membrane integrity. In conclusion, the results suggest that vitamin E prevents the loss of mitochondrial integrity and function, as well as the increase in Bax content, which suggests that mitochondria are involved in increased cell death induced by severe hypobaric hypoxia in mice skeletal muscle.

You do not currently have access to this content.