The aging process clearly increases the demand for antioxidant protection, especially in the brain, involving that provided by α-tocopherol (αT). However, little is known about the age-related changes in brain αT levels and the influencing effect of gender on it, in human or murine samples as well. Accordingly, the aim of the current study was to detect age-, gender- and region-specific changes in αT concentrations in mouse brain tissue and to assess the influencing effect of plasma αT levels on it. Female and male C57BL/6 mice at the ages of 6, 16 and 66 weeks (n = 9 in each group) were applied. αT levels were determined with high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) from the striatum, cortex, hippocampus, cerebellum, brainstem and from plasma samples. A detailed validation process was carried out for the applied HPLC method as well. The results demonstrated that brain αT levels significantly increased in the striatum, cortex, and hippocampus with aging in both genders, but in a more pronounced way in females with an increasing magnitude of this difference. In case of the cerebellum, a moderate elevation could be detected only in females, whereas in case of the brainstem there was no significant change in αT level. With regard to plasma samples, no clear trend could be identified. The current study is the first to present age-dependent gender-specific changes in αT level in certain brain regions of the C57Bl/6 mouse strain, and may provide meaningful information for future therapeutic studies targeting aging-related processes.
Experiments on human samples and on genetic animal models of Huntington's disease (HD) suggest that a number of neuroactive metabolites in the kynurenine (KYN) pathway (KP) of the tryptophan (TRP) catabolism may play a role in the development of HD. Our goal in this study was to assess the concentrations of TRP, KYN, kynurenic acid and 3-hydroxykynurenine (3-OHK) in the serum and brain of 5-month-old C57Bl/6 mice in the widely used 3-nitropropionic acid (3-NP) toxin model of HD. We additionally investigated the behavioral changes through open-field, rotarod and Y-maze tests. Our findings revealed an increased TRP catabolism via the KP as reflected by elevated KYN/TRP ratios in the striatum, hippocampus, cerebellum and brainstem. As regards the other examined metabolites of KP, we found only a significant decrease in the 3-OHK level in the cerebellum of the 3-NP-treated mice. The open-field and rotarod tests demonstrated that treatment with 3-NP resulted in a reduced motor ability, though this had almost totally disappeared a week after the last injection, similarly as observed previously in most murine 3-NP studies. The relevance of the alterations observed in our biochemical and behavioral analyses is discussed. We propose that the identified biochemical alterations could serve as applicable therapeutic endpoints in studies of drug effects on delayed-type neurodegeneration in a relatively fast and cost-effective toxin model of HD.