Electrical activity of sensory pathways in female and male geriatric Rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta), and its relation to oxidative stress

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Synapses loss during aging has been related to decreased neuronal excitability and reduced electrophysiological activity in the nervous system, as well as to increased brain damage. Those physiological and biochemical alterations have been related to the oxidative stress increase associated with old age. The main substrate of lipid peroxidation (LPX) in the central and peripheral nervous systems are the myelin sheaths, and their damage generates a delayed nerve conduction velocity. However, studies in which the neural conduction velocity is related to changes in the redox state are still lacking. Therefore, our aim was to correlate the sensory neural pathways delay in healthy geriatric Rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) with the oxidative stress associated with physiological aging. Twenty-four monkeys were divided into four groups according to age and gender. Auditory, visual, and somatosensory evoked potentials were obtained. Superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase enzymatic activity, as well as LPX, were determined from blood samples. Our results showed significant differences between the older and younger age groups in all neural generators of the different sensory pathways evaluated, along with an increase in LPX and the antioxidant enzymatic activities. It suggests that, even though the enzymatic activity was found to be higher in older monkeys, probably as a compensatory effect, it was not enough to avoid LPX damage and the declined electric activity associated with age.

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