The accumulation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations has been suggested to be an important contributor to human aging and degenerative diseases. The lung is exposed to ambient air and makes direct contact with the external environment. Numerous potentially noxious agents may damage lung tissues directly or indirectly through free-radical-mediated reactions. In previous studies, we demonstrated an age-dependent increase of mtDNA mutations in various human tissues. We hypothesize that the accumulation of the 4,977 bp (base pairs) deleted mtDNA in human lung tissues is also age- dependent. Using the polymerase chain reaction technique, we determined the incidence of the 4,977 bp-deleted mtDNA in 127 human lung specimens from 34- wk gestation to 79 yr of age. The results showed that 77 lung biopsies (60.6%) contained the 4,977 bp-deleted mtDNA, which started to appear in lung tissues after the fourth decade of life. The incidence apparently increased from 14.3% (one of seven) of the subjects in the 30- to 39-yr age group to 77.8% (two of 27) of the subjects in the 70- to 79-yr age group (p <0.0001). The mean (± SEM) proportion of the 4,977 bp-deleted mtDNA in lung tissues significantly increased from 0.007 ± 0.007% of the subjects in the 30- to 39-yr age group to 0.833 ± 0.330% of those in the 70- to 79-yr age group (p <0.005). Other factors such as sex, pulmonary function indices, and smoking status did not have statistically significant impact on the amount of the deleted mtDNA. These findings suggest that the accumulation of the 4,977 bp- deleted mtDNA is associated with aging human lung.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine|
|Issue number||4 I|
|Publication status||Published - 1996|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine