Skeletal Muscle Aging in F344BN F1-Hybrid Rats: I. Mitochondrial Dysfunction Contributes to the Age-Associated Reduction in VO2max
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Although mitochondrial DNA damage accumulates in aging skeletal muscles, how this relates to the decline in muscle mass-specific skeletal muscle aerobic function is unknown. We used a pump-perfused rat hind-limb model to examine maximal aerobic performance (VO(2max)) in young adult (YA; 8-9-month-old), late middle aged (LMA; 28-30-month-old) and senescent (SEN; 36-month-old) Fischer 344 x Brown Norway F1-hybrid rats at matched rates of convective O(2) delivery (QO(2)). Despite similar muscle QO(2) during a 4-minute contraction bout, muscle mass-specific VO(2max) was reduced in LMA (15%) and SEN (52%) versus YA. In plantaris muscle homogenates, nested polymerase chain reaction revealed an increased frequency of mitochondrial DNA deletions in the older animals. A greater reduction in the flux through electron transport chain complexes I-III than citrate synthase activity in the older animals suggests mitochondrial dysfunction consequent to mitochondrial DNA damage with aging. These results support the hypothesis that a reduced oxidative capacity, due in part to age-related mitochondrial dysfunction, contributes to the decline in aerobic performance in aging skeletal muscles.
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