, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 755-763
Date: 10 Oct 2008

Mitochondrial Decay in the Brains of Old Rats: Ameliorating Effect of Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Acetyl-l-carnitine

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Abstract

To investigate the mitochondrial decay and oxidative damage resulting from aging, the activities/kinetics of the mitochondrial complexes were examined in the brains of young and old rats as well as in old rats fed R-α-lipoic acid plus acetyl-l-carnitine (LA/ALC). The brain mitochondria of old rats, compared with young rats, had significantly decreased endogenous antioxidants and superoxide dismutase activity; more oxidative damage to lipids and proteins; and decreased activities of complex I, IV and V. Complex I showed a decrease in binding affinity (increase in Km) for substrates. Feeding LA/ALC to old rats partially restored age-associated mitochondrial dysfunction to the levels of the young rats. These results indicate that oxidative mitochondrial decay plays an important role in brain aging and that a combination of nutrients targeting mitochondria, such as LA/ALC, could ameliorate mitochondrial decay through preventing mitochondrial oxidative damage.

Special issue article in honor of Dr. Akitane Mori.