Ageing alters aortic antioxidant enzyme activities in Fischer-344 rats. Academic Article uri icon


  • Oxidative stress imposed by reactive oxygen species is now believed to contribute to hypertension, atherosclerosis and ageing of the vasculature all involving a loss of relaxation. The antioxidant enzymes glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase and catalase play a crucial role in defending against the ravages of oxidative stress. Our purpose was to characterize age-related changes in glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase and catalase in the rat aorta. Aortas were extracted from seven young (4 months), seven middle aged (18 months) and seven old (24 months) animals. Analysis of variance was used with Fisher-LSD post hoc to determine mean differences among glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase and catalase. Aortic glutathione peroxidase activities rose steadily with age expressed in micromol mg protein-1 min-1 +/- SEM (young: 141 +/- 22; middle aged: 198 +/- 18; old: 229 +/- 26) reaching significance between young and old. Superoxide dismutase activities significantly decreased in middle aged when compared with young (young: 22 +/- 2 vs. middle aged: 15 +/- 2 U mg protein-1) before trending upward again in old age (19 +/- 2). Catalase activities dropped significantly between young and old when expressed in mU mg protein-1 (young: 230 +/- 30; middle aged: 173 +/- 18; old: 144 +/- 23). Ratios for the various enzymes indicate a shrinking contribution of catalase with ageing, with an enhanced role for glutathione peroxidase in the antioxidant defence. These data in aortas of ageing rats show a complex alteration of the antioxidant profile.

published proceedings

  • Acta Physiol Scand

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Demaree, S. R., Lawler, J. M., Linehan, J., & Delp, M. D.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Demaree, SR||Lawler, JM||Linehan, J||Delp, MD

publication date

  • July 1999