The journals of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences

Sexual Dimorphism in the Alterations of Cardiac Muscle Mitochondrial Bioenergetics Associated to the Ageing Process.

PMID 24682352


The incidence of cardiac disease is age and sex dependent, but the mechanisms governing these associations remain poorly understood. Mitochondria are the organelles in charge of producing energy for the cells, and their malfunction has been linked to cardiovascular disease and heart failure. Interestingly, heart mitochondrial content and functionality are also age and sex dependent. Here we investigated the combinatory effects of age and sex in mitochondrial bioenergetics that could help to understand their role on cardiac disease. Cardiac mitochondria from 6- and 24-month-old male and female Wistar rats were isolated, and the enzymatic activities of the oxidative-phosphorylative complexes I, III, and IV and ATPase, as well as the protein levels of complex IV, β-ATPase, and mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM), were measured. Furthermore, heart DNA content, citrate synthase activity, mitochondrial protein content, oxygen consumption, and H2O2 generation were also determined. Results showed a reduction in heart mitochondrial mass and functionality with age that correlated with increased H2O2 generation. Moreover, sex-dependent differences were found in several of these parameters. In particular, old females exhibited a significant loss of mitochondrial function and increased relative H2O2 production compared with their male counterparts. The results demonstrate a sex dimorphism in the age-associated defects on cardiac mitochondrial function.

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Oxygen, ≥99.6%