Estimating relative carbonyl levels in muscle microstructures by fluorescence imaging

Juan Feng, Marian Navratil, Ladora V. Thompson, Edgar A. Arriaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The increase in the levels of protein carbonyls, biomarkers of oxidative stress, appears to play an important role in aging skeletal muscle. However, the exact distributions of carbonyls among various skeletal muscle microstructures still remain largely unknown, partly owing to the lack of adequate techniques to carry out these measurements. This report describes an immunohistochemical approach to determine the relative abundance of carbonyls in the intermyofibrillar mitochondria (IFM), the subsarcolemmal mitochondria (SSM), the cytoplasm, and the extracellular space of skeletal muscle. These morphological features were defined by labeling the nucleus, the Z-lines, and mitochondria. Carbonyls were detected by derivatization with dinitrophenylhydrazine followed by labeling with an Alexa 488-labeled anti-dinitrophenyl primary antibody. Alexa 488 fluorescence (green) in different fiber microstructures was used to estimate the relative abundance of carbonyls. On the basis of the samples examined, preliminary results suggest that the most dramatic age-related changes in carbonyl levels occur in the extracellular space, followed in a decreasing order by SSM, IFM, and the cytoplasm. These observations were confirmed in the soleus and semimembranosus muscles composed predominantly of type I and type II fibers, respectively. This approach could easily be extended to the investigation of carbonyl levels in other muscles (composed of mixed skeletal muscle fiber types) or other tissues in which protein carbonyls are present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2591-2598
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (AG025371). E.A.A. acknowledges the support of NIH by a Career Award (1K02-AG21453). The authors also thank Janice Shoeman from the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation of the University of Minnesota for preparing the muscle cross sections.


  • Aging
  • Fluorescence microscopy
  • Mitochondria
  • Protein carbonyls
  • Skeletal muscle microstructures


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