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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 1372640, 16 pages
Research Article

Mitochondrial Respiration in Human Colorectal and Breast Cancer Clinical Material Is Regulated Differently

1Laboratory of Bioenergetics, National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics, Tallinn, Estonia
2Oncology and Haematology Clinic at the North Estonia Medical Centre, Tallinn, Estonia
3Laboratory of Fundamental and Applied Bioenergetics, INSERM, University Grenoble Alpes, U1055 Grenoble, France
4School of Natural Sciences and Health, Tallinn University, Tallinn, Estonia

Correspondence should be addressed to Tuuli Kaambre

Received 27 January 2017; Revised 10 April 2017; Accepted 19 April 2017; Published 11 July 2017

Academic Editor: Moh H. Malek

Copyright © 2017 Andre Koit et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We conducted quantitative cellular respiration analysis on samples taken from human breast cancer (HBC) and human colorectal cancer (HCC) patients. Respiratory capacity is not lost as a result of tumor formation and even though, functionally, complex I in HCC was found to be suppressed, it was not evident on the protein level. Additionally, metabolic control analysis was used to quantify the role of components of mitochondrial interactosome. The main rate-controlling steps in HBC are complex IV and adenine nucleotide transporter, but in HCC, complexes I and III. Our kinetic measurements confirmed previous studies that respiratory chain complexes I and III in HBC and HCC can be assembled into supercomplexes with a possible partial addition from the complex IV pool. Therefore, the kinetic method can be a useful addition in studying supercomplexes in cell lines or human samples. In addition, when results from culture cells were compared to those from clinical samples, clear differences were present, but we also detected two different types of mitochondria within clinical HBC samples, possibly linked to two-compartment metabolism. Taken together, our data show that mitochondrial respiration and regulation of mitochondrial membrane permeability have substantial differences between these two cancer types when compared to each other to their adjacent healthy tissue or to respective cell cultures.