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Mech Ageing Dev. 1991 Dec 2;61(2):113-21.

Is aging preprogrammed? Observations from the brain/gut axis.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, VAMC Bronx 10468.


Age related differential gene expression occurs in the neuro-enteral axis. Brain and gut organ weight, total RNA, total protein and three peptides were quantified in 4-, 10- and 37-week-old Sprague-Dawley rats. As animals aged, total RNA decreased in the brain (0.65 +/- 0.3-0.28 +/- 0.03 mg/g), but remained stable in the gut (2.6 +/- 0.3-2.9 +/- 0.4 mg/g). Total protein concentration rose in the duodenum (612 +/- 28-734 +/- 34 mg/g), while levels remained stable in the brain (641 +/- 54-666 +/- 34 mg/g). Three peptides were studied, cholecystokinin (CCK), VIP and secretin. With increasing age, significant changes were found only in CCK a true neural-enteral peptide. The concentration of smaller molecular forms of CCK decreased in the brain (248 +/- 18-188 +/- 21 pmol/g), while they remained stable in the duodenum (33 +/- 2-36 +/- 3 pmol/g). By contrast, the concentration of the larger forms of CCK were stable in the brain (36 +/- 3-40 +/- 4 pmol/g), but rose in the gut (89 +/- 14-134 +/- 17 pmol/g). These data indicate that as rats age there is preprogrammed differential control of gene expression between brain and intestine.

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