Oxidative stress has a central role in aging and in several age-linked diseases such as neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes and cancer. Mitochondria, as the main cellular source and target of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in aging, are recognized as very important players in the above reported diseases. Impaired mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation has been reported in several aging tissues. Defective mitochondria are not only responsible of bioenergetically less efficient cells but also increase ROS production further contributing to tissues oxidative stress. Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) is a biomolecule able to limit age-linked mitochondrial decay in brain, liver, heart and skeletal muscles by increasing mitochondrial efficiency. Here the global changes induced by aging and by ALCAR supplementation to old rat on the mitochondrial proteome of rat liver has been analyzed by means of the two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Mass spectrometry has been used to identify the differentially expressed proteins. A significant age-related change occurred in 31 proteins involved in several metabolisms. ALCAR supplementation altered the levels of 26 proteins. In particular, ALCAR reversed the age-related alterations of 10 mitochondrial proteins relative to mitochondrial cristae morphology, to the oxidative phosphorylation and antioxidant systems, to urea cycle, to purine biosynthesis.
Musicco C, Capelli V, Pesce V, Timperio AM, Calvani M, Mosconi L, Cantatore P, Gadaleta MN. Rat liver mitochondrial proteome: changes associated with aging and acetyl-L-carnitine treatment. J Proteomics. 2011 October CNR - National Research Council of Italy - Institute of Biomembranes and Bioenergetics, Bari, Italy.