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The Immp2l mutation causes age-dependent degeneration of cerebellar granule neurons prevented by antioxidant treatment.


ABSTRACT: Reactive oxygen species are implicated in age-associated neurodegeneration, although direct in vivo evidence is lacking. We recently showed that mice with a mutation in the Inner Mitochondrial Membrane Peptidase 2-like (Immp2l) gene had elevated levels of mitochondrial superoxide, impaired fertility and age-associated phenotypes, including kyphosis and ataxia. Here we show that ataxia and cerebellar hypoplasia occur in old mutant mice (> 16 months). Cerebellar granule neurons (CGNs) are significantly underrepresented; Purkinje cells and cells in the molecular layer are not affected. Treating mutant mice with the mitochondria-targeted antioxidant SkQ1 from 6 weeks to 21 months protected cerebellar granule neurons. Apoptotic granule neurons were observed in mutant mice but not in age-matched normal control mice or SkQ1-treated mice. Old mutant mice showed increased serum protein carbonyl content, cerebellar 4-hydroxynonenal (HNE), and nitrotyrosine modification compared to old normal control mice. SOD2 expression was increased in Purkinje cells but decreased in granule neurons of old mutant mice. Mitochondrial marker protein VDAC1 also was decreased in CGNs of old mutant mice, suggesting decreased mitochondrial number. SkQ1 treatment decreased HNE and nitrotyrosine modification, and restored SOD2 and VDAC1 expression in CGNs of old mutant mice. Neuronal expression of nitric oxide synthase was increased in cerebella of young mutant mice but decreased in old mutant mice. Our work provides evidence for a causal role of oxidative stress in neurodegeneration of Immp2l mutant mice. The Immp2l mutant mouse model could be valuable in elucidating the role of oxidative stress in age-associated neurodegeneration.

SUBMITTER: Liu C 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4717271 | BioStudies | 2016-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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