Mitochondrial DNA rearrangements during human aging: a study on liver, muscle and adipose tissue

Biondi, Fiammetta (2015) Mitochondrial DNA rearrangements during human aging: a study on liver, muscle and adipose tissue , [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Oncologia e patologia sperimentale, 27 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/6825.
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Aging is characterized by a chronic, low-grade inflammatory state called “inflammaging”. Mitochondria are the main source of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which trigger the production of pro-inflammatory molecules. We are interested in studying the age-related modifications of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which can be affected by the lifelong exposure to ROS and are responsible of mitochondrial dysfunction. Moreover, increasing evidences show that telomere shortening, naturally occurring with aging, is involved in mtDNA damage processes and thus in the pathogenesis of age-related disorders. Thus the primary aim of this thesis was the analysis of mtDNA copy number, deletion level and integrity in different-age human biopsies from liver, vastus lateralis skeletal muscle of healthy subjects and patients with limited mobility of lower limbs (LMLL), as well as adipose tissue. The telomere length and the expression of nuclear genes related to mitobiogenesis, fusion and fission, mitophagy, mitochondrial protein quality control system, hypoxia, production and protection from ROS were also evaluated. In liver the decrease in mtDNA integrity with age is accompanied with an increase in mtDNA copy number, suggesting the existence of a “compensatory mechanism” able to maintain the functionality of this organ. Different is the case of vastus lateralis muscle, where any “compensatory pathway” is activated and mtDNA integrity and copy number decrease with age, both in healthy subjects and in patients. Interestingly, mtDNA rearrangements do not incur in adipose tissue with advancing age. Finally, in all tissues a marked gender difference appears, suggesting that aging and also gender diversely affect mtDNA rearrangements and telomere length in the three human tissues considered, likely depending on their different metabolic needs and inflammatory status.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Biondi, Fiammetta
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze biologiche, biomediche e biotecnologiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
mitochondria; mtDNA rearrangements; inflammaging; human aging; liver; skeletal muscle; adipose tissue;
Data di discussione
11 Maggio 2015

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