Brain region-specific, age-related, alterations in mitochondrial responses to elevated calcium.

Research paper by Maile R MR Brown, James W JW Geddes, Patrick G PG Sullivan

Indexed on: 21 Sep '04Published on: 21 Sep '04Published in: Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes


An age-related Ca(2+) dysregulation and increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) may contribute to late-onset neurodegenerative disorders. These alterations are often attributed to impaired mitochondrial function yet few studies have directly examined mitochondria isolated from various regions of the aged brain. The purpose of this study was to examine Ca(2+)-buffering and ROS production in mitochondria isolated from Fischer 344 rats ranging in age from 4 to 25 months. Mitchondria isolated from the cortex of the 25 month rat brain exhibited greater rates of ROS production and mitochondrial swelling in response to increasing Ca(2+) loads as compared to mitochondria isolated from younger (4, 13 month) animals. The increased swelling is indicative of opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore indicating impaired Ca(2+) buffering/cycling in aged animals. These age-related differences were not observed in mitochondria isolated from cerebellum. Together, these results demonstrate region specific, age-related, alterations in mitochondrial responses to Ca(2+).