We measured changes in gene expression, induced by aging and caloric restriction (CR), in three hippocampal subregions. When analysis included all regions, aging was associated with expression of genes linked to mitochondrial dysfunction, inflammation, and stress responses, and in some cases, expression was reversed by CR. An age-related increase in ubiquintination was observed, including increased expression of ubiquitin conjugating enzyme genes and cytosolic ubiquitin immunoreactivity. CR decreased cytosolic ubiquitin and upregulated deubiquitinating genes. Region specific analyses indicated that CA1 was more susceptible to aging stress, exhibiting a greater number of altered genes relative to CA3 and the dentate gyrus (DG), and an enrichment of genes related to the immune response and apoptosis. CA3 and the DG were more responsive to CR, exhibiting marked changes in the total number of genes across diet conditions, reversal of age-related changes in p53 signaling, glucocorticoid receptor signaling, and enrichment of genes related to cell survival and neurotrophic signaling. Finally, CR differentially influenced genes for synaptic plasticity in CA1 and CA3. It is concluded that regional disparity in response to aging and CR relates to differences in vulnerability to stressors, the availability of neurotrophic, and cell survival mechanisms, and differences in cell function.
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