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Brain Res. 2007 Jan 5;1127(1):10-8. Epub 2006 Nov 17.

Effects of age and caloric intake on glutathione redox state in different brain regions of C57BL/6 and DBA/2 mice.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA.


The main purpose of the present study was to determine whether specific regions of the mouse brain exhibit different age-related changes in oxidative stress, as indicated by glutathione redox state and the level of protein-glutathionyl mixed disulfides. Comparison of 3- and 21-month-old mice indicated an age-related decrease in the ratio of reduced to oxidized glutathione (GSH/GSSG) as well as a pro-oxidizing shift in the calculated redox potential (ranging from 6 to 15 mV) in the cortex, hippocampus, striatum and cerebellum, whereas there was little change in the brainstem. This pro-oxidizing shift in redox state was due to a modest decrease in GSH content occurring in all the brain regions examined, and elevations in GSSG amount that were most pronounced in the striatum and cerebellum. The regional changes in glutathione redox state were paralleled by increases in the amounts of protein-mixed disulfides. A reduction of caloric intake by 40% for a short period (7 weeks), implemented in relatively old mice (17 months), increased the GSH/GSSG ratio and redox potential at 19 months in the same brain regions that exhibited age-related decreases. The effects of age and caloric restriction were qualitatively similar in C57BL/6 and DBA/2 mice. However, young DBA/2 mice, which do not show extension of life span in response to long-term caloric restriction, had lower GSH/GSSG ratios and higher protein-mixed disulfides than age-matched C57BL/6 mice. The current findings demonstrate that oxidative stress, as reflected by glutathione redox state, increases in the aging brain in regions linked to age-associated losses of function and neurodegenerative diseases.

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