More Support for the Membrane Pacemaker Hypothesis of Aging

The membrane pacemaker hypothesis suggests that longevity differences between species are largely determined by the resistance to oxidative damage exhibited by important cell membranes - such as those in mitochondria. Here is some evidence to suggest that this holds up within a species too: "Membrane unsaturation plays an important role in the aging process and the determination of inter-species animal longevity. Furthermore, the accumulation of oxidation-derived molecular damage to cellular components particularly in the nervous and immune systems over time leads to homeostasis loss, which highly influences age-related morbidity and mortality. In this context, it is of great interest to know and discern the degree of membrane unsaturation and the steady-state levels of oxidative damage in both physiological systems from long-lived subjects. In the present work, adult (28 ± 4 weeks), old (76 ± 4 weeks) and exceptionally old (128 ± 4 weeks) BALB/c female mice were used. Brain and spleen were analysed for membrane fatty acid composition and specific markers of protein oxidation, glycoxidation and lipoxidation damage ... The results showed significantly [higher membrane resistance to lipid peroxidation and lower lipoxidation-derived molecular damage brain and spleen in] exceptionally old animals when compared to old specimens ... In addition, the higher levels of the glycoxidation-derived marker observed in exceptionally old animals, as well as in adult mice, could be considered as a good indicator of a better bioenergetic state of these animals when compared to the old group. In conclusion, low lipid oxidation susceptibility and maintenance of adult-like protein lipoxidative damage could be key mechanisms for longevity achievement."

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22367548

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