Neurochemical Research

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 755–763 | Cite as

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

  • Jiangang Long
  • Feng Gao
  • Liqi Tong
  • Carl W. Cotman
  • Bruce N. Ames
  • Jiankang Liu
Original Paper


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.


Binding affinity (KmBrain mitochondria Mitochondrial complex activity Enzyme kinetics Oxidative damage 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jiangang Long
    • 1
    • 2
  • Feng Gao
    • 2
  • Liqi Tong
    • 1
  • Carl W. Cotman
    • 1
  • Bruce N. Ames
    • 2
  • Jiankang Liu
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Brain Aging and DementiaUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA
  2. 2.Children’s Hospital Oakland Research InstituteOaklandUSA
  3. 3.Graduate Center for ToxicologyUniversity of Kentucky College of MedicineLexingtonUSA

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