Research Paper Volume 5, Issue 11 pp 850—864

Relationships between human vitality and mitochondrial respiratory parameters, reactive oxygen species production and dNTP levels in peripheral blood mononuclear cells

Scott Maynard1,2, *,, Guido Keijzers1,2,3, *,, Martin Gram1,4, , Claus Desler1,2, , Laila Bendix3,5, , Esben Budtz-Jørgensen5, , Drude Molbo1,5, , Deborah L. Croteau6, , Merete Osler3,7, , Tinna Stevnsner3,8, , Lene Juel Rasmussen1,2, , Flemming Dela1,4, , Kirsten Avlund1,3,5, , Vilhelm A. Bohr6, ,

  • 1 Center for Healthy Aging at the University of Copenhagen, 2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark
  • 2 Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Copenhagen, 2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark
  • 3 Danish Aging Research Center, Universities of Aarhus, Southern Denmark and Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 4 Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, 2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark
  • 5 Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, 1014 Copenhagen K, Denmark
  • 6 Laboratory of Molecular Gerontology, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD 21224-6825, USA
  • 7 Research Centre for prevention and Health, Glostrup University Hospital, 2600 Glostrup, Denmark
  • 8 Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, University of Aarhus, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
* Equal contribution

Received: September 25, 2013       Accepted: November 20, 2013       Published: November 30, 2013
How to Cite


Low vitality (a component of fatigue) in middle-aged and older adults is an important complaint often identified as a symptom of a disease state or side effect of a treatment. No studies to date have investigated the potential link between dysfunctional mitochondrial ATP production and low vitality. Therefore, we measured a number of cellular parameters related to mitochondrial activity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) isolated from middle-aged men, and tested for association with vitality. These parameters estimate mitochondrial respiration, reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and deoxyribonucleotide (dNTP) balance in PBMCs. The population was drawn from the Metropolit cohort of men born in 1953. Vitality level was estimated from the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36 (SF-36) vitality scale. We found that vitality score had no association with any of the mitochondrial respiration parameters. However, vitality score was inversely associated with cellular ROS production and cellular deoxythymidine triphosphate (dTTP) levels and positively associated with deoxycytidine triphosphate (dCTP) levels. We conclude that self-reported persistent low vitality is not associated with specific aspects of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation capacity in PBMCs, but may have other underlying cellular dysfunctions that contribute to dNTP imbalance and altered ROS production.


PBMCs: peripheral blood mononuclear cells; dNTP: deoxyribonucleotide; SF-36: Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36; CAMB: Copenhagen Aging and Midlife Biobank; OCR: oxygen consumption rate; ECAR: extracellular acidification rate; ROS: reactive oxygen species.