Aging and mitochondria
Gadaleta MN, Cormio A, Pesce V, Lezza AM, Cantatore P
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology,
University of Bari, Italy.
Biochimie 1998 Oct; 80(10):863-70


Aging is a complex physiological phenomenon and several different theories have been elaborated about its origin. Among such theories, the 'mitochondrial theory of aging', which has gained a large support, indicates the accumulation of somatic mutations of mitochondrial DNA leading to the decline of mitochondrial functionality as one of the driving forces for the process itself. In this review data on rat and man from our laboratory and from recent literature have been thoroughly examined and compared in order to provide the 'state-of-the-art' on the role of mitochondria in aging. Alterations of structure and expression of mitochondrial genome with aging, to find out the eventual relevant changes of mitochondrial biogenesis, have been studied in rat whereas the relationship between cytochrome c oxidase activity and 'common deletion' has been studied in man. Results on the effect of acetyl-L-carnitine on the mitochondrial functionality are also reported.

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