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Effects of age and dietary antioxidants on cerebral electron transport chain activity.


Aging is a pleiotropic process involving genetic and environmental factors. Recently it has been demonstrated that dietary constituents may affect senescence. In the present study, adult (3 month-old) mice were fed diets supplemented with ubiquinone (coenzyme Q(10)), alpha-lipoic acid, melatonin or alpha-tocopherol for a six-month period to determine if antioxidants may reverse or inhibit the progression of certain age-associated changes in cerebral mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETS) enzyme activities. The control consisted of a group of mice maintained on a basal diet for the same period. The activity of cytochrome c oxidase (Complex IV) increased with age but melatonin supplementation restored the activity to levels of 3 month-old animals. The activity of succinate dehydrogenase (Complex II) showed no age-related changes. However, this enzyme complex was elevated, in animals supplemented with coenzyme Q(10), alpha-lipoic acid and alpha-tocopherol, above corresponding values obtained with basal diet. NADH-ubiquinone oxidoreductase (Complex I) and ubiquinol:ferricytochrome-c oxidoreductase (Complex III) activities remained unchanged.

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