Proton circuits across the inner mitochondrial membrane link the primary energy generators, namely the complexes of the electron transport chain, to multiple energy utilizing processes, including the ATP synthase, inherent proton leak pathways, metabolite transport and linked circuits of sodium and calcium. These mitochondrial circuits can be monitored in both isolated preparations and intact cells and, for the primary proton circuit techniques, exist to follow both the proton current and proton electrochemical potential components of the circuit in parallel experiments, providing a quantitative means of assessing mitochondrial function and, equally importantly, dysfunction.

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