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Hear Res. 2010 Oct 1;269(1-2):122-33. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2010.06.019. Epub 2010 Jun 30.

A multivariate analysis of the effects of aging on glutamate, GABA and arginine metabolites in the rat vestibular nucleus.

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Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.


Aging is associated with neurochemical changes in the brain that result in impaired vestibular reflex function. We analysed the concentrations of 9 related neurochemicals (l-arginine, l-citrulline, l-ornithine, agmatine, putrescine, spermidine, spermine, glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)) in the vestibular nucleus of aged (24 months old) and young (4 month old) rats; the cerebellum was analysed for comparison. The effects of the housing conditions of the rats were also investigated. Age significantly affected the concentrations of the 9 neurochemicals in both the vestibular nucleus and cerebellum (P = 0.000). Housing did not have a significant effect and the interaction between age and housing was significant only for the vestibular nucleus (P = 0.03). For both the vestibular nucleus and cerebellum, linear discriminant functions were identified that significantly predicted whether the animals were 4 or 24 months old (P = 0.000). Using multiple regression analysis, only vestibular nucleus spermidine, spermine and l-arginine could be predicted from the other neurochemical variables with an adjusted R(2) of >80%. Cluster analyses were performed to determine if the neurochemical variables formed distinct groups and whether this changed as a function of age. For the vestibular nucleus but not the cerebellum, the clusters were substantially different for the 24 month old and 4 month old animals.

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