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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2000 Aug 15;1459(2-3):397-404.

Mitochondrial bioenergetics in aging.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Biochimica 'G. Moruzzi', Universit√† di Bologna, Via Irnerio 48, 40126, Bologna, Italy.


Mitochondria are strongly involved in the production of reactive oxygen species, considered as the pathogenic agent of many diseases and of aging. The mitochondrial theory of aging considers somatic mutations of mitochondrial DNA induced by oxygen radicals as the primary cause of energy decline; experimentally, complex I appears to be mostly affected and to become strongly rate limiting for electron transfer. Mitochondrial bioenergetics is also deranged in human platelets upon aging, as shown by the decreased Pasteur effect (enhancement of lactate production by respiratory chain inhibition). Cells counteract oxidative stress by antioxidants; among lipophilic antioxidants, coenzyme Q is the only one of endogenous biosynthesis. Exogenous coenzyme Q, however, protects cells from oxidative stress by conversion into its reduced antioxidant form by cellular reductases.

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