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Global Metabolic Shifts in Age and Alzheimer’s Disease Mouse Brains Pivot at NAD+/NADH Redox Sites


Age and Alzheimer's disease (AD) share some common features such as cognitive impairments, memory loss, metabolic disturbances, bioenergetic deficits, and inflammation. Yet little is known on how systematic shifts in metabolic networks depend on age and AD. In this work, we investigated the global metabolomic alterations in non-transgenic (NTg) and triple-transgenic (3xTg-AD) mouse brain hippocampus as a function of age by using untargeted Ultrahigh Performance Liquid Chromatography-tandem Mass Spectroscopy (UPLC-MS/MS). We observed common metabolic patterns with aging in both NTg and 3xTg-AD brains involved in energy-generating pathways, fatty acids oxidation, glutamate, and sphingolipid metabolism. We found age-related downregulation of metabolites from reactions in glycolysis that consumed ATP and in the TCA cycle, especially at NAD+/NADH-dependent redox sites, where age- and AD-associated limitations in the free NADH may alter reactions. Conversely, metabolites increased in glycolytic reactions in which ATP is produced. With age, inputs to the TCA cycle were increased including fatty acid β-oxidation and glutamine. Overall age- and AD-related changes were > 2-fold when comparing the declines of upstream metabolites of NAD+/NADH-dependent reactions to the increases of downstream metabolites (p = 10-5, n = 8 redox reactions). Inflammatory metabolites such as ceramides and sphingosine-1-phosphate also increased with age. Age-related decreases in glutamate, GABA, and sphingolipid were seen which worsened with AD genetic load in 3xTg-AD brains, possibly contributing to synaptic, learning- and memory-related deficits. The data support the novel hypothesis that age- and AD-associated metabolic shifts respond to NAD(P)+/NAD(P)H redox-dependent reactions, which may contribute to decreased energetic capacity.

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