ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Teresa Heavilin (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: Atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries, is the major cause of stroke, peripheral artery disease and heart attack. . Overproduction of superoxide anions in mitochondria can give rise to atherosclerosis. Superoxide anions are produced naturally in mitochondria and the organelle has defenses to control the amount of superoxide anions in the mitochondria. However, an overproduction of superoxide anions overwhelms the organelle’s defenses. A low level of overproduction of superoxide anions can cause oxidation of fatty acids; which leads to atherosclerosis. A larger level of overproduction of superoxide anions can lead to malfunctions in mitochondria, oxidative stress, and eventually cell death. Previous studies have focused on free radical scavengers; like vitamins A & E. However, little research has been done to discover what environmental changes in the mitochondria organelles can cause an overproduction of superoxide anions. This is important because if we can determine what causes a significant increase in overproduction of superoxide anions we can prevent this condition instead of treating it after overproduction happens. Previous research indicates that sodium acts on the mitochondria via the sodium-calcium exchange. Based on this knowledge, we hypothesize that an increase in sodium concentration in the environment will result in an increase of superoxide anion production in mitochondria. We want to establish whether there is a specific sodium concentration that will lead to a significant increase in superoxide anions compared to the other sodium concentrations. To determine this, we isolate mitochondria from chicken livers and assay using a 96 micro-well plate with varying amounts of sodium concentrations. The potassium in the wells is used to prevent changing the ionic strength of the medium. The absorbance of the wells are measured to determine the amount of superoxide anions produced in each well. Our preliminary results were not valid due to an error in the preparation of the buffer solutions. The results from the mitochondria assay without varying sodium shows a linear fit and support that the mitochondria are intact and capable of producing superoxide anions. Our final results of the mitochondria assay with varying sodium concentrations had slight but acceptable variance. The final results suggest that sodium might not be as important to superoxide anion production as previously thought.; Additional Adviser: Dr. Richard McCabe Department of Foundational Sciences at East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine

Additional Information

Heavilin, Teresa. (2015). THE EFFECT OF CHANGES IN SODIUM CONCENTRATIONS ON MITOCHONDRIA. Unpublished manuscript, Honors College, East Carolina University, Greenville, N.C.
Language: English
Date: 2015
Sodium, Mitochondria, Superoxide anions

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