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4.2 - 24th Sept 1998


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Caloric intake alters the efficiency of catalase mRNA translation in the liver of old female mice.

Dhahbi JM, Tillman JB, Cao S, Mote PL, Walford RL, Spindler SR

Department of Biochemistry, University of California, Riverside, USA.

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 1998 May;53(3):B180-B185

The free radical theory of aging predicts that calorie restriction, which extends life span, should reduce oxidant damage. In mammals, the oxidative processes centered in the liver are a major source of free radicals. Liver catalase has the dominant role in the intracellular detoxification of hydrogen peroxide. In male rodents, published studies indicate that aging decreases catalase gene transcription and that calorie restriction obviates this effect. In females, published studies are inconsistent, and no molecular mechanisms have been identified. Here we report that, in female mice, aging can lead to an increase in the translational efficiency of hepatic catalase mRNA, and that calorie restriction obviates this effect. Consideration of these results and published studies leads us to propose that the variability in catalase results in females may arise from the small number of studies or from unique aspects of female physiology, perhaps the estrous cycle and its cessation with age.


Caloric restriction prevents age-related decline in skeletal muscle dihydropyridine receptor and ryanodine receptor expression.

Renganathan M, Delbono O

Sticht Center on Aging, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.

FEBS Lett 1998 Sep 4;434(3):346-350

The dihydropyridine receptor (DHPR), a voltage-gated L-type Ca2+ channel, and the Ca2+ release channel/ryanodine receptor isoform-1 (RyR1) are key molecules involved in skeletal muscle excitation-contraction coupling. We have reported age-related decreases in the level of DHPR expression in fast- and slow-twitch muscles from Fisher 344 cross Brown Norway (F344BNX) rats (Renganathan, Messi and Delbono, J. Membr. Biol. 157 (1997) 247-253). Based on these studies we postulate that excitation-contraction uncoupling is a basic mechanism for the decline in muscle force with aging (Delbono, Renganathan and Messi, Muscle Nerve Suppl. 5 (1997) S88-92). In the present study, we extended our studies to older ages and we intended to prevent or retard excitation-contraction uncoupling by restricting the caloric intake of the F344BNX rats from 16 weeks of age. Three age groups, 8-, 18-, and 33-month old caloric restricted rats, were compared with ad libitum fed animals. The number of DHPR and RyR1 and DHPR/RyR1 ratio (an index of the level of receptors uncoupling) in skeletal muscles of 8-month and 18-month rats was not significantly different in either ad libitum fed or caloric restricted rats. However, the age-related decrease in the number of DHPR, RyR1 and DHPR/RyR1 ratio observed in 33-month old ad libitum fed rats was absent in 33-month old caloric restricted rats. These results suggest that caloric restriction prevents age-related decreases in the number of DHPR, RyR1 and DHPR/RyR1 ratio observed in fast- and slow-twitch rat skeletal muscles.


Molecular wear and tear leads to terminal marking and the unstable isoforms of aging.

Gracy RW, Talent JM, Zvaigzne AI

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth 76107, USA. rgracy@hsc.unt.edu

J Exp Zool 1998 Sep 1;282(1-2):18-27

Our studies focus on the mechanisms of molecular wear and tear, terminal marking, protein degradation, and how these processes are altered with age. Molecular wear and tear directly links catalysis with postsynthetic terminal marking. For example, the binding of ligands and catalysis cause conformational changes that are transmitted from the catalytic center to the site of terminal marking and enhance the rates of specific covalent modifications, such as deamidation or oxidation. These oxidations or deamidations can introduce "KFERQ motifs" into proteins, which may permit them to be recognized and transported to the site(s) of complete degradation. Terminally marked proteins accumulate in aging cells and tissues and account for many of the health problems of the elderly. Two-dimensional protein fingerprinting coupled with immunostaining permits identification and characterization of these proteins. Free-radical traps or caloric restriction, which may prevent the formation or enhance the degradation of terminally marked proteins, may be useful in the prevention or treatment of age-associated health problems, including dementia.


Protein oxidation and enzyme activity decline in old brown Norway rats are reduced by dietary restriction.

Aksenova MV, Aksenov MY, Carney JM, Butterfield DA

Department of Pharmacology, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40536, USA.

Mech Ageing Dev 1998 Jan 30;100(2):157-168

The effect of aging and diet restriction (DR) on the activity of creatine kinase (CK), glutamine synthetase (GS) and protein carbonyl formation in the cerebellum, hippocampus and cortex of male and female brown Norway (BN) rats has been investigated. It was demonstrated that CK activity in three different regions of the rat brain declines with age by 30%. Age-related decrease of GS activity was only 10-13% and did not reach statistical significance. Consistent with previously published studies, age-related increase of protein carbonyl content in each brain area studied has been observed. Preventive effects of a caloric restricted diet on the age-associated protein oxidation and changes of the activity of CK and GS in the brain was observed for both aging male and female BN rats. DR delayed the accumulation of protein carbonyls. Age-related changes of CK activity in rat brain were abrogated by DR. The activity of GS in the brain of old rats subjected to the caloric restricted diet was higher than that in the brain of young animals fed ad libitum. The results are consistent with the notion that DR may relieve age-associated level of oxidative stress and lessen protein damage.


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