Mitochondria ageing

John Guerin ba182 at LAFN.ORG
Wed Jul 17 21:48:12 EST 1996

There have been several references lately to mitochondria aging.  The 
authors might be interested in an article that appeared this year in 
Mechanisms of Ageing and Development entitled "Low fatty acid 
unsaturation protects against lipid peroxidation in liver mitochondria 
from long-lived species: the pigeon and human case" by R. Pamplona et al 
(V86 (1996) 53-66).  Following is the abstract:

Birds have a much higher maximum longevity (MLSP) than mammals of similar
metabolic rate.  Recent data showed that pigeon mitochondria produce
oxygen at a rate much slower than rat mitochondria, in spite of showing
similar levels of oxygen consumption (Free Rad. Res., 21 (1994) 317-328). 
Since oxidative damage from and to mitochondria seems important in
relation to aging and longevity, and mitochondrial membranes are situated
at the place where oxygen radicals are generated, we studied protein and
lipid peroxidation and fatty acid composition of the three main membrane
phospholipids of liver mitochondria from rats (MLSP = 4 years) and pigeons
(MLSP = 35 years).  It was found that pigeon mitochondria show lower
levels of fatty acid unsaturation than rat mitochondria in the three lipid
fractions, mainly due to a substitution of highly unsaturated fatty acids
(20:4 and 22:6) by linoleic acid (18:2), and that these mitochondria are
more resistant to lipid peroxidation.  Previous research has also obtained
exactly the same major difference in fatty acid composition in human
mitochondria when compared to those of rat.  Thus, present information
suggests that the liver mitochondrial membranes of especially long-lived
species show both a low level of free radical production and a low degree
of fatty acid unsaturation as important constitutive protective traits to
slow down aging. 

For further information, see the article.  Sincerely, John C. Guerin

John C. Guerin

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