Morphometry of age pigment (lipofuscin) and of ceroid pigment deposits associated with vitamin E deficiency

Patrizia Fattoretti, Carlo Bertoni-Freddari, Tiziana Casoli, Giuseppina Di Stefano, Moreno Solazzi, Elena Corvi
Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics 2002, 34 (3): 263-8
Consistent amounts of lipofuscin and of ceroid pigment associated with vitamin E deficiency are reported to represent morphological correlates of aging and increased oxidative stress. A reliable quantification of these yellow autofluorescent deposits is of critical biological significance, thus we carried out a computer-assisted morphometric study on the accumulation of lipofuscin in physiological aging and of ceroid pigment in vitamin E deficiency, respectively. The total area and the size distribution of lipofuscin or ceroid pigment deposits were measured in CA3 hippocampal pyramidal neurons of 6-, 12-, 18- and 25-month-old rats, as well as in vitamin E deficient animals of 18 months of age. An increase in the mean total area of lipofuscin and ceroid pigment was found in aging and in vitamin E deficiency. In both conditions, the proportion of large discrete deposits also increased. The similarity of changes observed in old and adult vitamin E deficient animals suggests that the underlying processes initiated by the absence of alpha-tocopherol from the diet of adult rats and in physiological aging may share some common mechanisms.


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