Original Paper

Neurochemical Research

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 755-763

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

  • Jiangang LongAffiliated withInstitute for Brain Aging and Dementia, University of CaliforniaChildren’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute
  • , Feng GaoAffiliated withChildren’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute
  • , Liqi TongAffiliated withInstitute for Brain Aging and Dementia, University of California
  • , Carl W. CotmanAffiliated withInstitute for Brain Aging and Dementia, University of California
  • , Bruce N. AmesAffiliated withChildren’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute
  • , Jiankang LiuAffiliated withInstitute for Brain Aging and Dementia, University of CaliforniaGraduate Center for Toxicology, University of Kentucky College of Medicine Email author 

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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.

Keywords

Binding affinity (Km) Brain mitochondria Mitochondrial complex activity Enzyme kinetics Oxidative damage