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Exp Gerontol. 2004 Sep;39(9):1323-32.

Effect of dietary restriction and N-acetylcysteine supplementation on intestinal mucosa and liver mitochondrial redox status and function in aged rats.

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  • 1Section of Internal Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Public Medicine (DIMIMP), University of Bari, P.zza G. Cesare, 11, 70124 Bari, Italy.


The age-related changes of glutathione (GSH) levels and the effect of hypocaloric regimen and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) supplementation were investigated in intestinal mucosa and liver mitochondria of 28 months rats. Old rats exhibited lower proteins, GSH and protein sulphydrils (PSH) concentrations, higher GSH-peroxidase (GSH-Px) activity and protein carbonyl deposit, partial inhibition of succinate stimulated mitochondrial state III respiration and decreased mitochondrial nitrosothiols (RSNO) concentration. Lower electric potential and current intensity were found in the colonic mucosa. Old rats undergone hypocaloric regimen showed higher intestinal concentrations of GSH, lower oxidized protein accumulation and GSH-Px activity and higher mitochondrial RSNO levels. Mitochondrial state III respiration and intestinal transport were improved. NAC supplementation enhanced GSH and PSH levels in the ileal but not in the colonic mucosa, GSH and RSNO in liver mitochondria, while GSH-Px and protein carbonyls were decreased everywhere. Mitochondrial respiration ameliorated. In conclusion, ageing is characterized by a spread decrease of GSH concentrations, increased protein oxidation and decreased mitochondrial NO content. Hypocaloric diet ameliorated intestinal transport and, as well as NAC, was effective in enhancing GSH levels but at different extent according to the investigated districts. Both interventions reduced the age-associated increase of GSH-Px and protein carbonyls and improved mitochondrial respiration.

Copyright 2004 Elsevier Inc.

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