Effect of age and cognitive status on basal level AP-1 activity in rat hippocampus

Neurobiol Aging. Sep-Oct 2001;22(5):773-86. doi: 10.1016/s0197-4580(01)00240-8.


Activator protein-1 (AP-1) was examined at multiple levels (mRNA, DNA binding, composition) in hippocampus of young and aged rats that were behaviorally characterized for spatial memory. GFAP mRNA was measured as a gene product known to increase with aging and to be regulated by AP-1. The activity of Jun-amino terminal-kinase (JNK) was also assessed. Levels of c-jun and c-fos mRNAs were unchanged with aging or spatial learning ability. Abundance of GFAP mRNA was significantly increased in aged hippocampus but did not correlate with spatial learning. Total AP-1 binding activity was unaltered with age or cognitive ability. In hippocampus of young, aged unimpaired and aged impaired rats, AP-1 consists mainly of c-Jun, phosphorylated c-Jun (p-c-Jun), JunD, and smaller amounts of c-Fos. JNK is constitutively active in young and aged hippocampus. We conclude that the basal expression of c-fos and c-jun mRNA, overall AP-1 binding activity and AP-1 composition are not influenced by aging or cognitive ability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Gene Expression / physiology
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / genetics
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases*
  • MAP Kinase Kinase 4
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases / metabolism
  • Protein Binding / physiology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-jun / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Space Perception / physiology
  • Transcription Factor AP-1 / genetics*
  • Transcription Factor AP-1 / metabolism*


  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-jun
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transcription Factor AP-1
  • JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • MAP Kinase Kinase 4
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases