Hypoxic states and conditions result in complex alterations of the energetics and metabolism at the level of the whole cell and mitochondria, including the modulation of metabolic pathways and activation of transcription factors and signaling events. Common feature of the alterations of mitochondrial functions under hypoxia is the activation of mitochondrial potassium channels. Most studied of mitochondrial potassium channels, ATP-sensitive K+ channel (mKATP channel), is supposed to play important role in the adaptation to hypoxia. However, the main obstacles in the understanding of mKATP channel functions under hypoxic conditions are contradictory data on the direct bioenergetic effects of mKATP channels opening and the lack of knowledge on cell specificity of mKATP channel functioning and of cell signaling pathways triggered by mKATP channels opening. So, the aim of this review was to outline the present knowledge on mKATP channel functions under hypoxia and to discuss how alterations to mitochondrial energetics and metabolism caused by mKATP channels opening (primarily at the level of ROS production and ATP synthesis) could be involved in multiple adaptive responses of a living organism to oxygen deprivation conditions.
Part of the book: Hypoxia and Anoxia