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Age-dependent decrease of mitochondrial complex II activity in human skin fibroblasts

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Amy Bowman, Professor Mark Birch-MachinORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


The mitochondrial theory of aging remains one of the most widely accepted aging theories and implicates mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) dysfunction with subsequent increasing free radical generation. Recently, complex II of the ETC appears to be more important than previously thought in this process, suggested predominantly by non-human studies. We investigated the relationship between complex II and aging using human skin as a model tissue. The rate of complex II activity per unit of mitochondria was determined in fibroblasts and keratinocytes cultured from skin covering a wide age range. Complex II activity significantly decreased with age in fibroblasts (P=0.015), but not in keratinocytes. This was associated with a significant decline in transcript expression (P=0.008 and P=0.001) and protein levels (P=0.0006 and P=0.005) of the SDHA and SDHB catalytic subunits of complex II respectively. In addition there was a significant decrease in complex II activity with age (P=0.029) that was specific to senescent skin cells, our study being the first to investigate these differenceswith senescence and skin age. There was no decrease in complex IV activity with increasing age, suggesting possible locality to complex II.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bowman A, Birch-Machin M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Investigative Dermatology

Year: 2016

Volume: 136

Issue: 5

Pages: 912-919

Print publication date: 01/05/2016

Online publication date: 29/01/2016

Acceptance date: 11/01/2016

Date deposited: 14/01/2016

ISSN (print): 0022-202X

ISSN (electronic): 1523-1747

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.jid.2016.01.017


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