Cell‐permeable succinate rescues mitochondrial respiration in cellular models of amiodarone toxicity

Alina M. Bețiu, Imen Chamkha, Ellen Gustafsson, Elna Meijer, Vlad F. Avram, Eleonor Åsander Frostner, Johannes K. Ehinger, Lucian Petrescu, Danina M. Muntean, Eskil Elmér

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Amiodarone is a potent antiarrhythmic drug and displays substantial liver toxicity in hu-mans. It has previously been demonstrated that amiodarone and its metabolite (desethylamioda-rone, DEA) can inhibit mitochondrial function, particularly complexes I (CI) and II (CII) of the elec-tron transport system in various animal tissues and cell types. The present study, performed in human peripheral blood cells, and one liver‐derived human cell line, is primarily aimed at assessing the concentration‐dependent effects of these drugs on mitochondrial function (respiration and cellular ATP levels). Furthermore, we explore the efficacy of a novel cell‐permeable succinate prodrug in alleviating the drug‐induced acute mitochondrial dysfunction. Amiodarone and DEA elicit a con-centration‐dependent impairment of mitochondrial respiration in both intact and permeabilized platelets via the inhibition of both CI‐ and CII‐supported respiration. The inhibitory effect seen in human platelets is also confirmed in mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and HepG2 cells. Additionally, amiodarone elicits a severe concentration‐dependent ATP depletion in PBMCs, which cannot be explained solely by mitochondrial inhibition. The succinate prodrug NV118 alleviates the respiratory deficit in platelets and HepG2 cells acutely exposed to amiodarone. In conclusion, amiodarone severely inhibits metabolism in primary human mitochondria, which can be counteracted by in-creasing mitochondrial function using intracellular delivery of succinate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11786
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Nov 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Endocrinology and Diabetes


  • Amiodarone
  • ATP
  • Desethylamiodarone
  • HepG2 cells
  • Mito-chondria
  • NV118
  • PBMCs
  • Platelets
  • Respiration
  • Sotalol


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