[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The free radical theory of aging postulates that the production of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species is the major determinant of aging and lifespan. Its role in aging of the connective tissue has not yet been established, even though the incidence of aging-related disorders in connective tissue-rich organs is high, causing major disability in the elderly. We have now addressed this question experimentally by creating mice with conditional deficiency of the mitochondrial manganese superoxide dismutase in fibroblasts and other mesenchyme-derived cells of connective tissues in all organs. Here, we have shown for the first time that the connective tissue-specific lack of superoxide anion detoxification in the mitochondria results in reduced lifespan and premature onset of aging-related phenotypes such as weight loss, skin atrophy, kyphosis (curvature of the spine), osteoporosis and muscle degeneration in mutant mice. Increase in p16(INK4a) , a robust in vivo marker for fibroblast aging, may contribute to the observed phenotype. This novel model is particularly suited to decipher the underlying mechanisms and to develop hopefully novel connective tissue-specific anti-aging strategies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To circumvent the early lethality of manganese superoxide dismutase (SOD2)-deficient mice, we have used a skin-specific strategy with introduction of loxP sites flanking exon 3 of the SOD2 gene. To our surprise, when breeding a female keratin 14 Cre transgenic mouse to a SOD2 "floxed" male mouse, due to keratin 14 promoter-driven Cre expression in the oocytes, all offspring were heterozygous for SOD2. In sharp contrast to initial publications on SOD2(+/-) mice, the herein reported mice on a mixed genetic background (C57BL/6 x 129/Ola) in their heterozygous state (SOD(+/-)) revealed distinct ultrastructural damage of the myocard, with swelling and disruption of mitochondria and accumulation of lipid droplets, increased nitrotyrosine formation, and lipid peroxidation as well as activation of apoptosis signaling pathways in the heart in vivo. Strikingly, and so far unreported, we found a substantial decrease in the activity of the cytosolic copper, zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1) in the heart tissue of SOD2(+/-) mice, suggesting that the breakdown of mitochondrial membranes in the heart of SOD2(+/-) mice results in the enhanced release of superoxide anion radicals or derivatives thereof with subsequent inactivation of cytosolic SOD1. This model may be particularly suited to long-term studies on age-related heart failure as well as other age-related diseases and the polygenic base of tissue-specific responses to oxidative injury.
Free Radical Biology and Medicine 07/2005; 38(11):1458-70. · 5.27 Impact Factor