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We have previously shown that uncoupling protein 1 is present in thymus and has a role in T-cell development. As reactive oxygen species have been implicated in T-cell development, we set out to determine whether uncoupling protein 1 had the potential to regulate reactive oxygen species production in mitochondria isolated from thymus. This was achieved by inhibiting proton leak through uncoupling protein 1 using the purine nucleotide GDP and through ablation of uncoupling protein 1, measuring the amplex red sensitive reactive oxygen species production by mitochondria. In this work we demonstrate, for the first time, that uncoupling protein 1 has the potential to regulate reactive oxygen species production in thymus mitochondria. We also show that reverse electron transport is possible in thymus mitochondria respiring on succinate and glycerol-3-phosphate. The implications of this regulatory role for uncoupling protein 1 are discussed in the context of thymus function. This article is part of a Directed Issue entitled: Bioenergetic dysfunction, adaptation and therapy.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Biochem Cell Biol

Publication Date





81 - 89


Animals, Female, Ion Channels, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Knockout, Mitochondria, Mitochondrial Proteins, Oxygen Consumption, Rats, Rats, Wistar, Reactive Oxygen Species, Thymus Gland, Uncoupling Protein 1