Scientific article

A neuronal aging pattern unique to humans and common chimpanzees

Published inBrain structure & function, vol. 221, no. 1, p. 647-664
Publication date2016

Lipofuscin pigment accumulation is among the most prominent markers of cellular aging in postmitotic cells. The formation of lipofuscin is related to oxidative enzymatic activity and free radical-induced lipid peroxidation. In various mammals such as rat, dog, macaque as well as in cheirogaleid primates, most of the large neurons, such as cerebellar Purkinje cells and neocortical pyramidal cells, show heavy lipofuscin accumulation in adulthood. In contrast, a well-known yet poorly studied feature of the aging human brain is that although lipofuscin accumulation is most marked in large neurons of the cerebral cortex, the large neurons of the cerebellar cortex-the Purkinje cells-appear to remain free of lipofuscin accumulation. It is however, not known whether this characteristic of human Purkinje cells is shared with other primates or other mammals. This study reports results from histological observation of Purkinje cells in humans, non-human primates, and other mammals. Procedures include histochemistry, immunocytochemistry, and fluorescence microscopy. Abundant lipofuscin deposition was observed in Purkinje cells of all the species we examined except Homo sapiens (including Alzheimer's disease cases) and Pan troglodytes. In contrast, lipofuscin deposition was observed in neurons of the dentate nucleus. Our findings suggest that when compared with other primates, Purkinje cells in chimpanzees and humans might share a common aging pattern that involves mechanisms for neuroprotection. This observation is important when considering animal models of aging.

Citation (ISO format)
GILISSEN, Emmanuel P et al. A neuronal aging pattern unique to humans and common chimpanzees. In: Brain structure & function, 2016, vol. 221, n° 1, p. 647–664. doi: 10.1007/s00429-014-0931-5
ISSN of the journal1863-2653

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