The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging

Aubrey de Grey ag24 at
Wed Nov 10 08:18:56 EST 1999

Andrew Mason wrote:

> Aubrey, is there any evidence for mitochondrial damage in aged ova

Yes, but not much.  The first report was Am J Hum Genet 1995; 57:239-247;
a more recent one was Mol Hum Reprod 1998; 4:887-892.  There is so far no
report, however, of an age-related rise in the level of mtDNA mutations in
ova.  The overall levels are much lower than in (e.g.) aged muscle, so the
detection techniques still need more refinement.

> is it a factor in the reduction in fertility with increasing age.

I know of no solid evidence either way.  I think that the contribution
of mutant oocyte mtDNA is unlikely to be as great as that from nuclear
causes such as aneuploidy (trisomy 21).

This paucity of hard data is reflected in a nice recent article which
discusses the issue from an evolutionary perspective: Mol Cell Endocrinol
1998; 145:81-88.

Aubrey de Grey

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