Age-related increase in mitochondrial quantity may mitigate a decline in mitochondrial quality in red blood cells from zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata)

Dawson, N.J. and Salmón, P. (2020) Age-related increase in mitochondrial quantity may mitigate a decline in mitochondrial quality in red blood cells from zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Experimental Gerontology, 133, 110883. (doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2020.110883) (PMID:32084534)

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Abstract

Aging is typically associated with a decline in whole animal performance that ultimately contributes to death. It is suspected that a decline in ATP production leads to dysfunction in cellular processes, contributing to the decline in performance. Birds require large amounts of ATP to support physiological process, especially flight, which is one of the most energetically expensive forms of locomotion in the animal kingdom to sustain. Since the bulk of ATP production is coordinated through mitochondrial activity, we set out to explore mitochondrial function in young (~8 months) and old (~73 months) zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). We exploited the fact that avian red blood cells (RBCs) are nucleated and have functional mitochondria to explore the phenomenon of age-related decline in mitochondrial function without the need for terminal sampling. We found that RBCs from old zebra finches have lower flux control ratios (mitochondrial O2 consumption attributed to ATP production; 0.29–0.36-fold), exhibit higher respiration (1.4-fold), and significantly higher citrate synthase activity (1.4-fold) than young birds. Respiration rates normalized to citrate synthase activity suggest that mitochondrial quality is changing, as leak state is significantly lower (0.39-fold) in old zebra finches in comparison to young animals. Overall, our findings indicate a possible change in the function of mitochondria in older zebra finches, which may be associated with a corresponding increase in mitochondrial quantity, possibly to offset a decline in mitochondrial quality.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Neal Dawson was supported by a NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dawson, Dr Neal and Salmon, Dr Pablo
Creator Roles:
Dawson, N.J.Conceptualization, Methodology, Investigation, Formal analysis, Writing – original draft
Salmón, P.Conceptualization, Methodology, Investigation, Formal analysis, Writing – original draft
Authors: Dawson, N.J., and Salmón, P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Experimental Gerontology
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0531-5565
ISSN (Online):1873-6815
Published Online:19 February 2020

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