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Acta Neurochir Suppl. 1997;70:56-8.

Selective impairments of mitochondrial respiratory chain activity during aging and ischemic brain damage.

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Department of Surgery (Neurosurgery), University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England, U.K.


Cumulative oxidative damage to mitochondrial deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) with subsequent defects in oxidative phosphorylation may reduce the capacity of the aging brain to cope with metabolic stress. This may contribute to the age related increase in cerebral infarct size that has been documented following permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) in the rat. This hypothesis was evaluated by assessing mitochondrial respiratory chain complex activity in both ischemic and non ischemic brain tissue of adult (10 month) and aged (28 month) male Wistar rats, six hours after occlusion of the left middle cerebral artery. Aging was associated with a significant decline in cerebral mitochondrial function with impairment of the activities of complexes I. II and IV. The individual respiratory chain complexes also exhibited selective vulnerability to a focal cerebral ischemic lesion, with significant impairment of complex I activity in the lesioned hemisphere of both age groups. The age related decline in complex I activity may be important in the enhanced susceptibility of the aging brain to ischemic neuronal damage.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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