A new paper in Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters talks about the mechanism of influence of methanofullerenoles on hyperpolarized mitochondria. Kazan University's partner in this research is the Arbuzov Institute of Organic and Physical Chemistry.
The joint team proved that water-soluble polyol-methanofullerenes C60[C9H10O4(OH)4]6 and C60[C13H18O4(OH)4]6 can decrease mitochondrial transmembrane potential. This makes them promising in the creation of targeted mitochondrial medications and composites based on them.
Hyperpolarized mitochondria have an elevated transmembrane potential because of the excess of H+ ions in the intermembrane space in comparison with the matrix (pH 8). Protonophores decrease the mitochondrial potential by facilitating electrogenic transport of protons through inner mitochondrial membrane. The most useful of them are soft protonophores which only remove the excess of the potential but don't decrease it below the necessary limit.
In the publication, the authors describe water-soluble polyol-methanofullerenes as soft protonophores because they can accept H+ ions only in hyperpolarized mitochondria and cannot penetrate normally polarized mitochondria. The research was based at the KFU Gene and Cell Technologies Lab and funded by Project 5-100.