3-NP-induced Huntington's-like disease impairs Nrf2 activation without loss of cardiac function in aged rats

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Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are one of the leading causes of death in patients over 60 years with Huntington's disease (HD). Here, we investigated if age-related oxidative stress (OS) is a relevant factor to develop cardiac damage in an in vivo model of striatal neurodegeneration induced by 3-nitropropionic acid (3-NP). We also evaluated the potential effect of tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ) to increase the Nrf2-regulated antioxidant response in hearts from adult and aged rats intoxicated with 3-NP. Our results showed that 3-NP-treatment did not induce cardiac dysfunction, neither in adult nor in aged rats. However, at the cellular level, adult animals showed higher susceptibility to 3-NP-induced damage than aged rats, which suggest that chronic oxidative stress ongoing during aging might have induced an hormetic response that probably prevented from further 3-NP damage. We also found that the oxidative unbalance concurs with unresponsiveness of the Nrf2-mediated antioxidant response in old animals.

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