AP39, a novel mitochondria-targeted hydrogen sulfide donor, stimulates cellular bioenergetics, exerts cytoprotective effects and protects against the loss of mitochondrial DNA integrity in oxidatively stressed endothelial cells in vitro

Bartosz Szczesny, Katalin Modis, Kazunori Yanagi, Ciro Coletta, Sophie Le Trionnaire, Alexis Perry, Mark E. Wood, Matthew Whiteman, Csaba Szabo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

111 Scopus citations


The purpose of the current study was to investigate the effect of the recently synthesized mitochondrially- Targeted H2S donor, AP39 [(10-oxo-10-(4-(3-thioxo-3H-1,2-dithiol-5yl)phenoxy)decyl) triphenylphosphonium bromide], on bioenergetics, viability, and mitochondrial DNA integrity in bEnd.3 murine microvascular endothelial cells in vitro, under normal conditions, and during oxidative stress. Intracellular H2S was assessed by the fluorescent dye 7-azido-4-methylcoumarin. For the measurement of bioenergetic function, the XF24 Extracellular Flux Analyzer was used. Cell viability was estimated by the combination of the MTT and LDH methods. Oxidative protein modifications were measured by the Oxyblot method. Reactive oxygen species production was monitored by the MitoSOX method. Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA integrity were assayed by the Long Amplicon PCR method. Oxidative stress was induced by addition of glucose oxidase. Addition of AP39 (30-300 nM) to bEnd.3 cells increased intracellular H2S levels, with a preferential response in the mitochondrial regions. AP39 exerted a concentrationdependent effect on mitochondrial activity, which consisted of a stimulation of mitochondrial electron transport and cellular bioenergetic function at lower concentrations (30-100 nM) and an inhibitory effect at the higher concentration of 300 nM. Under oxidative stress conditions induced by glucose oxidase, an increase in oxidative protein modification and an enhancement in MitoSOX oxidation was noted, coupled with an inhibition of cellular bioenergetic function and a reduction in cell viability. AP39 pretreatment attenuated these responses. Glucose oxidase induced a preferential damage to the mitochondrial DNA; AP39 (100 nM) pretreatment protected against it. In conclusion, the current paper documents antioxidant and cytoprotective effects of AP39 under oxidative stress conditions, including a protection against oxidative mitochondrial DNA damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-130
Number of pages11
JournalNitric Oxide - Biology and Chemistry
StatePublished - Sep 15 2014



  • Bioenergetics
  • Cytoprotection
  • DNA repair
  • Mitochondria
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cancer Research
  • Physiology

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