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Ageing Res Rev. 2006 Nov;5(4):402-33. Epub 2006 Jul 10.

Oxidative phosphorylation and aging.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA.


This review addresses the data that support the presence and contribution of decreased mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation during aging to impaired cellular metabolism. Aging impairs substrate oxidation, decreases cellular energy production and increases the production of reactive intermediates that are toxic to the cell. First, the basic principles of mitochondrial oxidative physiology are briefly reviewed. Second, the focus on the relationship of altered mitochondrial respiration to the increased production of reactive oxygen species that are employed by the "rate of living" and the "uncoupling to survive" theories of aging are discussed. Third, the impairment of function of respiration in aging is reviewed using an organ-based approach in mammalian systems. Fourth, the current state of knowledge regarding aging-induced alterations in the composition and function of key mitochondrial constituents is addressed. Model organisms, including C. elegans and D. melanogaster are included where pertinent. Fifth, these defects are related to knowledge regarding the production of reactive oxygen species from specific sites of the electron transport chain.

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