The effects of aging on gene expression in the hypothalamus and cortex of mice

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Feb 13;98(4):1930-4. doi: 10.1073/pnas.98.4.1930.


A better understanding of the molecular effects of aging in the brain may help to reveal important aspects of organismal aging, as well as processes that lead to age-related brain dysfunction. In this study, we have examined differences in gene expression in the hypothalamus and cortex of young and aged mice by using high-density oligonucleotide arrays. A number of key genes involved in neuronal structure and signaling are differentially expressed in both the aged hypothalamus and cortex, including synaptotagmin I, cAMP-dependent protein kinase C beta, apolipoprotein E, protein phosphatase 2A, and prostaglandin D. Misregulation of these proteins may contribute to age-related memory deficits and neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, many proteases that play essential roles in regulating neuropeptide metabolism, amyloid precursor protein processing, and neuronal apoptosis are up-regulated in the aged brain and likely contribute significantly to brain aging. Finally, a subset of these genes whose expression is affected by aging are oppositely affected by exposure of mice to an enriched environment, suggesting that these genes may play important roles in learning and memory.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism*
  • Endopeptidases / genetics
  • Enzyme Induction
  • Enzymes / genetics
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression*
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism
  • Stress, Physiological / metabolism
  • Synapses / metabolism


  • Enzymes
  • Endopeptidases