Mitochondrial DNA deletions in mice in men: substantia nigra is much less affected in the mouse

Xinhong Guo, Elena Kudryavtseva, Natalya Bodyak, Alexander Nicholas, Igor Dombrovsky, Deye Yang, Yevgenya Kraytsberg, David K Simon, Konstantin Khrapko
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 2010, 1797 (6-7): 1159-62
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) deletions have been reported to accumulate to high levels in substantia nigra of older humans, and these mutations are suspected of causing age-related degeneration in this area. We have compared levels of mtDNA deletions in humans and mice and report here that levels of deletions in the mouse are very significantly lower than in humans. While human mtDNA from substantia nigra contained more than 5% of deleted molecules, mouse substantia nigra contained less than 0.5%. These results imply that mtDNA deletions are unlikely to play any significant role in of murine substantia nigra aging and further call for caution in using mouse models in studies of the role of mtDNA deletions in aging and neurodegeneration. On a more general note, these results support the view that critical targets of the various aging processes may differ significantly between distant species.

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