Age-dependent changes of glyoxalase I expression in human brain
Increased modification and crosslinking of proteins by advanced glycation end products (AGEs) is a characteristic feature of aging, and contributes to the formation of many of the lesions of neurodegenerative diseases including neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, defense mechanisms against AGE formation or detoxification of their precursors such as the glyoxalase system are of particular interest in aging research. Thus, we investigated the age-dependent protein expression, the activity as well as the RNA level of glyoxalase I in Brodmann area 22 (auditory association area of superior temporal gyrus) of the human cerebral cortex. Our immunohistochemical results demonstrate the localization of glyoxalase I in neurons, predominantly pyramidal cells, as well as in astroglia, located predominantly in the subpial region. The number of glyoxalase I expressing neurons and astroglia increases with age, with a peak at approximately 55 years, and progressively decreases thereafter. These results were confirmed by biochemical investigations in total brain tissue, where the RNA, the protein level as well as the activity of glyoxalase I enzyme were analyzed in different age groups. In conclusion, the increase in glyoxalase I expression up to the age of 55 may be a compensatory mechanism against high oxoaldyde levels and the accumulation of AGEs. However, the decline of glyoxalase expression and activity in old age, possibly caused by impairment in transcription or/and translation, may subsequently lead to increased levels of reactive carbonyl compounds, followed by protein crosslinking, inflammation, oxidative stress and neuronal degeneration.
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