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Mutat Res. 2000 Jul 20;452(1):123-38.

Cellular phenotypes of age-associated skeletal muscle mitochondrial abnormalities in rhesus monkeys.

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Department of Animal Health and Biomedical Sciences, VA GRECC and Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706, USA.


Rhesus monkey vastus lateralis muscle was examined histologically for age-associated electron transport system (ETS) abnormalities: fibers lacking cytochrome c oxidase activity (COX(-)) and/or exhibiting succinate dehydrogenase hyperreactivity (SDH(++)). Two hundred serial cross-sections (spanning 1600 microm) were obtained and analyzed for ETS abnormalities at regular intervals. The abundance and length of ETS abnormal regions increased with age. Extrapolating the data to the entire length of the fiber, up to 60% of the fibers were estimated to display ETS abnormalities in the oldest animal studied (34 years) compared to 4% in a young adult animal (11 years). ETS abnormal phenotypes varied with age and fiber type. Middle-aged animals primarily exhibited the COX(-) phenotype, while COX(-)/SDH(++) abnormalities were more common in old animals. Transition region phenotype was affected by fiber type with type 2 fibers first displaying COX(-) and then COX(-)/SDH(++) while type 1 fibers progressed from normal to SDH(++) and then to COX(-)/SDH(++). In situ hybridizations studies revealed an association of ETS abnormalities with deletions of the mitochondrial genome. By measuring cross-sectional area along the length of ETS abnormal fibers, we demonstrated that some of these fibers exhibit atrophy. Our data suggest mitochondrial (mtDNA) deletions and associated ETS abnormalities are contributors to age-associated fiber atrophy.

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