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Patrick Yu-Wai-Man, Joey Lai-Cheong, Gillian M. Borthwick, Langping He, Geoffrey A. Taylor, Laura C. Greaves, Robert W. Taylor, Philip G. Griffiths, Douglass M. Turnbull; Somatic Mitochondrial DNA Deletions Accumulate to High Levels in Aging Human Extraocular Muscles. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(7):3347-3353. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.09-4660.
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Mitochondrial function and the presence of somatic mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) defects were investigated in extraocular muscles (EOMs) collected from individuals covering a wide age range, to document the changes seen with normal aging.
Cytochrome c oxidase (COX) and succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) histochemistry was performed on 46 EOM samples to determine the level of COX deficiency in serial cryostat muscle sections (mean age, 42.6 years; range, 3.0–96.0 years). Competitive three-primer and real-time PCR were performed on single-fiber lysates to detect and quantify mtDNA deletions. Whole-genome mitochondrial sequencing was also performed to evaluate the contribution of mtDNA point mutations to the overall mutational load.
COX-negative fibers were seen in EOMs beginning in the third decade of life, and there was a significant age-related increase: <30 years, 0.05% (n = 17); 30 to 60 years, 1.94% (n = 13); and >60 years, 3.34% (n = 16, P = 0.0001). Higher levels of COX deficiency were also present in EOM than in skeletal muscle in all three age groups (P < 0.0001). Most of the COX-negative fibers harbored high levels (>70%) of mtDNA deletions (206/284, 72.54%) and the mean deletion level was 66.64% (SD 36.45%). The mutational yield from whole mitochondrial genome sequencing was relatively low (1/19, 5.3%), with only a single mtDNA point mutation identified among COX-negative fibers with low deletion levels ≤70%.
The results show an exponential increase in COX deficiency in EOMs beginning in early adulthood, which suggests an accelerated aging process compared with other postmitotic tissues.
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