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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 9169146, 22 pages
Research Article

Differential Alterations of the Mitochondrial Morphology and Respiratory Chain Complexes during Postnatal Development of the Mouse Lung

1Institute for Anatomy and Cell Biology II, Division of Medical Cell Biology, Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany
2Department of Urology, Pediatric Urology and Andrology, Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany
3Excellence Cluster Cardio-Pulmonary System (ECCPS), German Lung Center (DZL), Universities of Giessen and Marburg Lung Center (UGMLC), Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany

Correspondence should be addressed to Eveline Baumgart-Vogt and Srikanth Karnati

Received 21 August 2017; Accepted 28 September 2017; Published 19 December 2017

Academic Editor: Liang-Jun Yan

Copyright © 2017 Natalia El-Merhie 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.


Mitochondrial biogenesis and adequate energy production in various organs of mammals are necessary for postnatal adaptation to extrauterine life in an environment with high oxygen content. Even though transgenic mice are frequently used as experimental models, to date, no combined detailed molecular and morphological analysis on the mitochondrial compartment in different lung cell types has been performed during postnatal mouse lung development. In our study, we revealed a significant upregulation of most mitochondrial respiratory complexes at protein and mRNA levels in the lungs of P15 and adult animals in comparison to newborns. The majority of adult animal samples showed the strongest increase, except for succinate dehydrogenase protein (SDHD). Likewise, an increase in mRNA expression for mtDNA transcription machinery genes (Polrmt, Tfam, Tfb1m, and Tfb2m), mitochondrially encoded RNA (mt-Rnr1 and mt-Rnr2), and the nuclear-encoded mitochondrial DNA polymerase (POLG) was observed. The biochemical and molecular results were corroborated by a parallel increase of mitochondrial number, size, cristae number, and complexity, exhibiting heterogeneous patterns in distinct bronchiolar and alveolar epithelial cells. Taken together, our results suggest a specific adaptation and differential maturation of the mitochondrial compartment according to the metabolic needs of individual cell types during postnatal development of the mouse lung.