Inhibition of cardiac mitochondrial respiration by salicylic acid and acetylsalicylate

Amy C. Nulton-Persson, Luke I. Szweda, Hesham A. Sadek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Acetylsalicylate, the active ingredient in aspirin, has been shown to be beneficial in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease. Because of the increasing frequency with which salicylates are used, it is important to more fully characterize extraand intracellular processes that are altered by these compounds. Evidence is provided that treatment of isolated cardiac mitochondria with salicylic acid and to a lesser extent acetylsalicylate resulted in an increase in the rate of uncoupled respiration. In contrast, both compounds inhibited ADP-dependent NADH-linked (state 3) respiration to similar degrees. Under the conditions of our experiments, loss in state 3 respiration resulted from inhibition of the Krebs cycle enzyme α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase (KGDH). Kinetic analysis indicates that salicylic acid acts as a competitive inhibitor at the α-ketoglutarate binding site. In contrast, acetylsalicylate inhibited the enzyme in a noncompetitive fashion consistent with interaction with the α-ketoglutarate binding site followed by enzyme-catalyzed acetylation. The effects of salicylic acid and acetylsalicylate on cardiac mitochondrial function may contribute to the known cardioprotective effects of therapeutic doses of aspirin, as well as to the toxicity associated with salicylate overdose.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-595
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2004


  • Acetylsalicylate
  • Heart
  • Mitochondria
  • Respiration
  • Salicylic acid
  • α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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