Initial brain aging: heterogeneity of mitochondrial size is associated with decline in complex I-linked respiration in cortex and hippocampus

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Brain aging is accompanied by declining mitochondrial respiration. We hypothesized that mitochondrial morphology and dynamics would reflect this decline. Using hippocampus and frontal cortex of a segmental progeroid mouse model lacking Cockayne syndrome protein B (CSBm/m) and C57Bl/6 (WT) controls and comparing young (2–5 months) to middle-aged mice (13–14 months), we found that complex I-linked state 3 respiration (CI) was reduced at middle age in CSBm/m hippocampus, but not in CSBm/m cortex or WT brain. In hippocampus of both genotypes, mitochondrial size heterogeneity increased with age. Notably, an inverse correlation between heterogeneity and CI was found in both genotypes, indicating that heterogeneity reflects mitochondrial dysfunction. The ratio between fission and fusion gene expression reflected age-related alterations in mitochondrial morphology but not heterogeneity. Mitochondrial DNA content was lower, and hypoxia-induced factor 1α mRNA was greater at both ages in CSBm/m compared to WT brain. Our findings show that decreased CI and increased mitochondrial size heterogeneity are highly associated and point to declining mitochondrial quality control as an initial event in brain aging.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Pages (from-to)215-224
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Brain aging, Cockayne syndrome B, Complex I-linked respiration, Mitochondrial dynamics, Mitochondrial morphology, mtDNA copy numbers

ID: 187583678