The ultrastructural features of perikaryal mitochondria positive to the copper ferrocyanide cytochemical reaction due to SDH activity were investigated in Purkinje cells of adult rats fed a vitamin E (α-tocopherol) deficient diet (AVED) for 11 months. The mitochondrial volume fraction (volume density: Vv), the number of organelles/μm3 of tissue (numeric density: Nv) and their average volume (V) were estimated by computer-assisted morphometry. The data obtained were compared with our previous results on 3,12 and 24 month-old normally fed rats. In a comparison with age-matched controls, AVED animals showed significant decreases of the three morphometric parameters taken into account. These reductions were also observed in old, normally fed rats vs. the young and adult groups, but in AVED rats Vv and V decreased to a higher extent. In adult control animals, the percent of larger organelles (0.32 μm3 3 size range accounted for the largest mitochondria in the AVED group. Taken together, these data document a significant impairment of mitochondrial efficiency in old and AVED rats. We interpret these findings to support that the underlying processes of aging and vitamin E deficiency may share common mechanisms. Considering the antioxidant action of α-tocopherol and the SDH role in cellular bioenergetics, inadequate protection from free radical attacks appears to represent an important determinant in the age-related decline of the mitochondrial metabolic competence.
|Number of pages||6|
|Publication status||Published - 2001|
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