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Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2009 May-Jun;48(3):335-9. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2008.02.016. Epub 2008 Apr 11.

Relationship between protein and mitochondrial DNA oxidative injury and telomere length and muscle loss in healthy elderly subjects.

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Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology, University of Chile, Macul 5540, Santiago, Chile.


A blood sample and muscle biopsies were obtained from 54 elderly subjects. Twenty-seven subjects aged 77+/-3 years, had experienced a change in fat free mass (FFM) of +194+/-282g/year (lean body mass maintainers) and 27 subjects aged 78+/-3 years, had a change in FFM of -487+/-209g/year (lean body mass losers). Muscle biopsies were also obtained from 10 healthy subjects aged 34+/-4 years. In muscle, the ratio of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to nuclear DNA (nDNA) and telomere length were assessed and deposition of 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal adducts (4HNE) was visualized by electron microscopy. In FFM maintainers, losers and young controls, the ratio of mtDNA to nDNA was 2.1 (95% confidence intervals (CI), 0.1-31.7), 1.5 (95% CI, 0.2-15.7) and 18.6 (95% CI, 2.8-46.2), respectively. 4HNE deposition was 5.9 (95% CI, 1.5-28), 4.9 (95% CI, 0.9-13) and 3.4 (95% CI, 1.1-4.6) gold particles/microm(2), respectively. Telomere length, expressed as T/S ratio, was 0.06 (95% CI, 0.01-0.16), 0.06 (95% CI, 0.03-0.27) and 0.34 (95% CI, 0.1-1.34), respectively (p<0.02 or less for all comparisons between elderly and young subjects).

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