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Switch in cell's 'power plant' declines with age, rejuvenated by drug
Date:8/16/2011

ease in nitric oxide productionindicating less energy made by the mitochondria and lowered blood pressure, respectively. Explains Walston, "Activating angiotensin receptors within the mitochondria with these agents led to lowered blood pressure and decreased cellular energy use."

But they found even more than just an energy-regulating mechanism; after testing the angiotensin system in mitochondria of both young and old mice, they noticed a decrease by almost a third of the amount of the angiotensin receptor type 2 in the mitochondria in older mice, meaning that cells in older mice were unable to control energy use as well. The researchers then tried treating these older mice with the blood pressure lowering drug losartan daily for 20 weeks and found that the number of these receptors increased. "Treatment of the old mice with losartan resulted in a marked increase in the number of receptors that are known to positively influence blood pressure and decrease inflammation," says Walston.

Declining mitochondria are known to influence chronic diseases in older adults, explains Walston, whose next step is to translate studies from cell culture and animal based studies to human studies in hopes of developing new therapies. "Our findings will help us determine if the drugs that interact with this receptor will also lead to improvement of mitochondrial function and energy production. This, in turn, could facilitate the treatment of a number of chronic diseases of older adults."


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Contact: John Lazarou
jlazaro1@jhmi.edu
410-502-8902
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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