Age-Related Mitochondrial Damage in The B-Type Cells of the Rat Trigeminal Ganglia


Aging is associated with signs of sensory impairment and neurological symptoms. Advancing age is characterized by increased thresholds of thermal, tactile and vibratory sensations. One important cause of the sensory disturbances has been stated to be the loss of neurons. Decreases have been observed in the number of peripheral nerve fibers and in the number of neurons in the spinal ganglia of rats.

In the present study, the cytoplasmic organelles of the neurons of the trigeminal ganglia were examined in young and senescent rats in order to reveal the cause of cell loss during aging. Mitochondrial alterations, swelling and loss of internal cristae were observed from 23 week of age in the B-type neurons of the trigeminal ganglia. Other cytoplasmic elements were intact. Mitochondrial damage was never seen in A-type neurons and satellite glial cells.

It was concluded that the ultrastructural changes in the mitochondria of the B-type cells may contribute to the nervous disturbances that occur in senescent individuals. The diminution of mitochondrial damage and the protection of B-type neurons through the use of nerve growth factors may prevent the sensory impairment late in life.


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Correspondence to L. Seress.

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Dedicated to Professor József Hámori on the occasion of his 70th birthday.

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Seress, L., Szőke, É. & Czéh, G. Age-Related Mitochondrial Damage in The B-Type Cells of the Rat Trigeminal Ganglia. BIOLOGIA FUTURA 53, 167–175 (2002).

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  • Aging
  • capsaicin
  • mitochondrial alterations
  • sensory disturbances
  • sensory ganglia