Effects of aging on quinolinic acid lesions in rat striatum
Nerve Tissue Proteins
Several neurologic illnesses in which excitotoxic mechanisms may play a role increase in prevalence with age. In the present study we examined the susceptibility of rats to quinolinic acid striatal lesions at 1, 4 and 20 months of age, and susceptibility to N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) at 1 and 4 months of age. The extent of the lesions was quantitated with measurements of substance P-like immunoreactivity (SPLI) and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). The lesions in the 4- and 20-month-old age groups showed significantly smaller depletions of SPLI and GABA than those in 1-month-old animals. Neuropeptide Y-like immunoreactivity (NPYLI) and somatostatin-like immunoreactivity (SLI) were unchanged in the lesioned striata. NMDA lesions were also attenuated in 4-month- and 12-month-old animals as compared with 1-month-old animals. Uric acid concentrations showed marked dose-dependent increases in the lesioned striatum, and to a lesser extent in the overlying cerebral cortex, in all 3 age groups. There were no changes of SLI, NPYLI or SPLI with aging in the cerebral cortex or hippocampus. Kynurenine and kynurenic acid concentrations showed significant increases with aging in frontal cortex. The present results show a reduced susceptibility of animals to striatal quinolinic acid and NMDA lesions with normal aging. The delayed onset of several neurodegenerative illnesses is therefore unlikely to be due to an increasing susceptibility to excitotoxin lesions with aging.