2Novosibirsk State University, ul. Pirogova 2, 630090 Novosibirsk, Russia
3Lomonosov Moscow State University, Institute of Mitoengineering, 119991 Moscow, Russia
* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received December 16, 2014; Revision received January 9, 2015
Reduction of efficiency of oxidative phosphorylation associated with aging and the development of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease is thought to be linked to the accumulation of deletions in mitochondrial DNA (ΔmtDNA), which are seen as a marker of oxidative damage. Recently, we have shown that mitochondria-targeted antioxidant SkQ1 (10-(6′-plastoquinonyl)decyltriphenylphosphonium) can slow the development of signs of Alzheimer’s disease in senescence-accelerated OXYS rats. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between the development of neurodegenerative changes in the brain of OXYS rats and changes in the amount of mtDNA and the 4834-bp mitochondrial DNA deletion (ΔmtDNA4834) as well as the effect of SkQ1. We studied the relative amount of mtDNA and ΔmtDNA4834 in the hippocampus of OXYS and Wistar (control) rats at ages of 1, 2, 6, 10, and 20 days and 3, 6, and 24 months. During the period crucial for manifestation of the signs of accelerated aging of OXYS rats (from 1.5 to 3 months of age), we evaluated the effects of administration of SkQ1 (250 nmol/kg) and vitamin E (670 mmol/kg, reference treatment) on the amount of mtDNA and ΔmtDNA4834 and on the formation of the behavioral feature of accelerated senescence in OXYS rats – passive type of behavior in the open field test. In OXYS rats, the level of ΔmtDNA4834 in the hippocampus is increased compared to the Wistar rats, especially at the stage of completion of brain development in the postnatal period. This level remains elevated not only at the stages preceding the manifestation of the signs of accelerated brain aging and the development of pathological changes linked to Alzheimer’s disease, but also during their progression. However, at age of 24 months, there were no detectable differences between the two strains. SkQ1 treatment reduced the level of ΔmtDNA4834 in the hippocampus of Wistar and OXYS rats and slowed the formation of passive behavior in OXYS rats. These results support the possible use of SkQ1 for prophylaxis of brain aging.
KEY WORDS: aging, hippocampus, mitochondria, 4834-bp mitochondrial DNA deletion, mitochondria-targeted antioxidant SkQ1