The aging brain suffers mitochondrial dysfunction and a reduced availability of energy in the form of ATP, which in turn may cause or promote the decline in cognitive, sensory, and motor function observed with advancing age. There is a need for animal models that display some of the pathological features of human brain aging in order to study their prevention by e.g. dietary factors. We thus investigated the suitability of the fast-aging senescence-accelerated mouse-prone 8 (SAMP8) strain and its normally aging control senescence-accelerated mouse-resistant 1 (SAMR1) as a model for the age-dependent changes in mitochondrial function in the brain. To this end, 2-months old male SAMR1 (n=10) and SAMP8 mice (n=7) were fed a Western type diet (control groups) for 5months and one group of SAMP8 mice (n=6) was fed an identical diet fortified with 500mg curcumin per kg. Dissociated brain cells and brain tissue homogenates were analyzed for malondialdehyde, heme oxygenase-1 mRNA, mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), ATP concentrations, protein levels of mitochondrial marker proteins for mitochondrial membranes (TIMM, TOMM), the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (ANT1, VDAC1, TSPO), respiration complexes, and fission and fusion (Fis, Opa1, Mfn1, Drp1). Dissociated brain cells isolated from SAMP8 mice showed significantly reduced MMP and ATP levels, probably due to significantly diminished complex V protein expression, and increased expression of TSPO. Fission and fusion marker proteins indicate enhanced mitochondrial fission in brains of SAMP8 mice. Treatment of SAMP8 mice with curcumin improved MMP and ATP and restored mitochondrial fusion, probably by up-regulating nuclear factor PGC1α protein expression. In conclusion, SAMP8 compared to SAMR1 mice are a suitable model to study age-dependent changes in mitochondrial function and curcumin emerges as a promising nutraceutical for the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases that are accompanied or caused by mitochondrial dysfunction.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.