Effect of age and caloric intake on protein oxidation in different brain regions and on behavioral functions of the mouse

Anju Dubey, Michael J. Forster, Harbans Lal, Rajindar S. Sohal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

243 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to determine if oxidative stress/damage is a possible causal factor in the senescence-related loss of brain functions in the mouse. If such a relationship indeed existed, it was expected that oxidative protein damage would increase with age within regions of the brain associated with senescence-related functional loss, and that calorie restriction, an intervention which retards certain aspects of age-associated functional loss, would reverse such increases. Dietary restriction was found to retard age-associated decline of sensorimotor coordination and improve performance of aged mice on an avoidance learning problem. Protein carbonyl concentration, one measure of protein oxidation, increased from 8 to 27 months of age in most regions of the mouse brain, with the most notable increases occurring in the striatum and hippocampus, regions of the brain strongly implicated in age-associated functional loss. Age-associated loss of protein sulfhydryls was more uniform across brain regions and did not involve the hippocampus. Dietary restriction resulted in reversal of the age- associated regional trends in carbonyl and sulfhydryl concentration, with the largest changes occurring within the striatum. Cross over studies in aged calorie restricted and ad libitum fed mice indicated that lowering of carbonyl content by calorie restriction could be induced or reversed within a time frame of 3 to 6 weeks. These findings suggest that the beneficial effects of dietary restriction upon brain function and life span may depend upon its ability to acutely reduce steady-state levels of oxidative stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-197
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Sep 1996


  • aging
  • brain
  • caloric restriction
  • cognitive decline
  • free radicals
  • motor decline
  • oxidative stress
  • protein oxidation


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