Journal of physiology and biochemistry

Aging-induced alterations in female rat colon smooth muscle: the protective effects of hormonal therapy.

PMID 22167661


Aging is associated to oxidative damage and alterations in inflammatory and apoptotic pathways. Aging impairs secretion of several hormones, including melatonin and estrogens. However, the mechanisms involved in aging of smooth muscle are poorly known. We have studied the changes induced by aging in the colonic smooth muscle layer of female rats and the protective effect of hormonal therapy. We used young, aged, and ovariectomized aged female rats. Two groups of ovariectomized rats (22 months old) were treated either with melatonin or with estrogen for 10 weeks before sacrifice. Aging induced oxidative imbalance, evidenced by H(2)O(2) accumulation, lipid peroxidation, and decreased catalase activity. The oxidative damage was enhanced by ovariectomy. In addition, aged colonic muscle showed enhanced expression of the pro-inflammatory enzyme cyclooxygenase 2. Expression of the activated forms of caspases 3 and 9 was also enhanced in aged colon. Melatonin and estrogen treatment prevented the oxidative damage and the activation of caspases. In conclusion, aging of colonic smooth muscle induces oxidative imbalance and activation of apoptotic and pro-inflammatory pathways. Hormonal therapy has beneficial effects on the oxidative and apoptotic changes associated to aging in this model.

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β-Estradiol 17-valerate, ≥98%