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Exp Gerontol. 2004 Mar;39(3):297-304.

Calorie restriction attenuates age-related alterations in the plasma membrane antioxidant system in rat liver.

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  • 1Laboratory of Experimental Gerontology, National Institute on Aging, NIH, Gerontology Research Center, Box 10, 5600 Nathan Shock Drive, Baltimore, MD 21224-6825, USA.


Aging is associated with increased production of reactive oxygen species and oxidation-induced damage to intracellular structures and membranes. Caloric restriction (CR) is the only non-genetic method proven to extend lifespan in mammals. Although the mechanisms of CR remain to be clearly elucidated, reductions in oxidative stress have been shown to increase lifespan in several model systems. Oxidative stress can be attenuated by CR. Mitochondria and plasma membrane (PM) are normal sources of free radicals. The PM has a trans-membrane redox system that provides electrons to recycle lipophilic antioxidants, such as alpha-tocopherol and coenzyme Q (CoQ). The idea developed in this study is that the PM is intimately involved in cellular physiology controlling the relationship of the cell to its environment. PM is the key for protecting cellular integrity during aging. Specifically, we have investigated age-related alterations and the effects of CR in the trans-PM redox (antioxidant) system in rat liver. We found that age-related declines in the ratio of CoQ(10)/CoQ(9) and alpha-tocopherol in liver PM were attenuated by CR compared to those fed ad libitum (AL). CoQ-dependent NAD(P)H dehydrogenases were increased in CR old rat liver PMs. As a consequence, the liver PM of CR old rats was more resistant to oxidative stress-induced lipid peroxidation than AL rats. Thus, our results suggest that CR induces a higher capacity to oxidize NAD(P)H in the PM of old rat livers and as a result, a higher resistance to oxidative stress-induced damage.

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