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Biogerontology. 2009 Aug;10(4):443-56. doi: 10.1007/s10522-008-9187-x. Epub 2008 Oct 18.

Age-associated impairment of Akt phosphorylation in primary rat hepatocytes is remediated by alpha-lipoic acid through PI3 kinase, PTEN, and PP2A.

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Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-6512, USA.


Akt is a highly regulated serine/threonine kinase involved in stress response and cell survival. Stress response pathways must cope with increasing chronic stress susceptibility with age. We found an age-related lesion in Akt activity via loss of phosphorylation on Ser473. In hepatocytes from old rats, basal phospho-Ser473 Akt is 30% lower when compared to young, but basal phospho-Thr308 Akt is unchanged. (R)-alpha-lipoic acid (LA), a dithiol compound with antioxidant properties, is effective against age-related increases in oxidative stress and has been used to improve glucose utilization through insulin receptor (IR) pathway-mediated Akt phosphorylation. Treatment with physiologically relevant doses of LA (50 microM) provided a 30% increase in phospho-Ser473. Furthermore, two phosphatases that antagonize Akt, PTEN and PP2A, were both partially inhibited by LA. Thus, LA may be a nutritive agent that can remediate loss of function in the Akt pathway and aid in the survival of liver cells.

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