Mitochondrial Oxygen Consumption by the Foreskin and its Fibroblast-rich Culture

Fatma Al-Jasmi, Thachillath Pramathan, Adnan Swid, Bahjat Sahari, Harvey S. Penefsky, Abdul-Kader Souid


Objectives: This study investigated the feasibility of using a phosphorescence oxygen analyser to measure cellular respiration (mitochondrial O2 consumption) in foreskin samples and their fibroblast-rich cultures.Methods: Foreskin specimens from normal infants were collected immediately after circumcision and processed for measuring cellular respiration and for culture. Cellular mitochondrial O2 consumption was determined as a function of time from the phosphorescence decay of the Pd (II) meso-tetra-(4-sulfonatophenyl)-tetrabenzoporphyrin. Results: In sealed vials containing a foreskin specimen and glucose, O2 concentration decreased linearly with time, confirming the zero-order kinetics of O2 consumption by cytochrome oxidase. Cyanide inhibited O2 consumption, confirming that the oxidation occurred mainly in the mitochondrial respiratory chain. The rate of foreskin respiration (mean ± SD) was 0.074 ± 0.02 μM O2 min-1 mg-1 (n = 23). The corresponding rate for fibroblast-rich cultures was 9.84 ± 2.43 μM O2 min-1 per 107 cells (n = 15). Fibroblast respiration was significantly lower in a male infant with dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase gene mutations, but normalised with the addition of thiamine or carnitine. Conclusion: The foreskin and its fibroblast-rich culture are suitable for assessment of cellular respiration. However, the clinical utility of foreskin specimens to detect disorders of impaired cellular bioenergetics requires further investigation.


Oxygen; Mitochondria; Foreskin; Respiration; Fibroblasts; Dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase; Thiamine; Carnitine

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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