Dissociation of striatal dopamine and tyrosine hydroxylase expression from aging-related motor decline: Evidence from calorie restriction intervention

Michael F. Salvatore, Jennifer Terrebonne, Mark A. Cantu, Tamara R. McInnis, Katy Venable, Parker Kelley, Ella A. Kasanga, Brian Latimer, Catherine L. Owens, Brandon S. Pruett, Yongmei Yu, Robert Luedtke, Michael J. Forster, Nathalie Sumien, Donald K. Ingram

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The escalating increase in retirees living beyond their eighth decade brings increased prevalence of aging-related impairments, including locomotor impairment (Parkinsonism) that may affect ~50% of those reaching age 80, but has no confirmed neurobiological mechanism. Lifestyle strategies that attenuate motor decline, and its allied mechanisms, must be identified. Aging studies report little to moderate loss of striatal dopamine (DA) or tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in nigrostriatal terminals, in contrast to ~70%–80% loss associated with bradykinesia onset in Parkinson’s disease. These studies evaluated the effect of ~6 months 30% calorie restriction (CR) on nigrostriatal DA regulation and aging-related locomotor decline initiated at 12 months of age in Brown-Norway Fischer F1 hybrid rats. The aging-related decline in locomotor activity was prevented by CR. However, striatal DA or TH expression was decreased in the CR group, but increased in substantia nigra versus the ad libitum group or 12-month-old cohort. In a 4- to 6-month-old cohort, pharmacological TH inhibition reduced striatal DA ~30%, comparable with decreases reported in aged rats and the CR group, without affecting locomotor activity. The dissociation of moderate striatal DA reduction from locomotor activity seen in both studies suggests that aging-related decreases in striatal DA are dissociated from locomotor decline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-20
Number of pages10
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018



  • Bradykinesia
  • Parkinsonism
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Striatum
  • Substantia nigra

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