Mitochondria (mt) are highly susceptible to reactive oxygen species (ROS). In this study, we investigated the association between a region within the displacement loop (D-loop) in mtDNA that is highly susceptible to ROS and oxidative stress markers in chronic dialysis patients. We enrolled 184 chronic dialysis patients and 213 age-matched healthy subjects for comparison. Blood levels of oxidative stress markers, such as thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) and free thiol, and the mtDNA copy number were determined. A mononucleotide repeat sequence (CCCC...CCCTCCCCCC) between nucleotides 303 and 316-318 (D310) was identified in mtDNA.
Depending on alterations in the D310 mononucleotide repeat, subjects were categorized into 4 subgroups: 7-C, 8-C, 9 or 10-C, and T-to-C transition. Oxidative stress was higher in chronic dialysis patients, evidenced by higher levels of TBARS and mtDNA copy number, and a lower level of free thiol. The distribution of 7-C, 8-C, and 9-10C in dialysis and control subjects was as follows: 7-C (38% vs. 31.5%), 8-C (35.3% vs. 43.2%), and 9-10C (24.5% vs. 22.1%). Although there were significant differences in levels of TBARS, free thiol, and the mtDNA copy number in the D310 repeat subgroups (except T-to-C transition) between dialysis patients and control subjects, post hoc analyses within the same study cohort revealed no significant differences.
Although oxidative stress was elevated in chronic dialysis patients and resulted in a compensatory increase in the mtDNA copy number, homopolymeric C repeats in the mtDNA region (D310), susceptible to ROS, were not associated with oxidative stress markers in these patients.