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FEBS Lett. 1997 Jun 30;410(2-3):467-9.

Decrease of rotenone inhibition is a sensitive parameter of complex I damage in brain non-synaptic mitochondria of aged rats.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Bologna, Italy.


We investigated NADH oxidation in non-synaptic and synaptic mitochondria from brain cortex of 4- and 24-month-old rats. The NADH oxidase activity was significantly lower in non-synaptic mitochondria from aged rats; we also found a significant decrease of sensitivity of NADH oxidation to the specific Complex I inhibitor, rotenone. Since the rotenone-binding site encompasses Complex I subunits encoded by mtDNA, these results are in accordance with the mitochondrial theory of aging, whereby somatic mtDNA mutations are at the basis of cellular senescence. Accordingly, a 5 kb deletion was detected only in the cortex of the aged animals.

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