The morphology of lipopigment in rat Purkinje neurons after chronic acetyl-L-carnitine administration: a reduction in aging-related changes.
The aging-related accumulation of neuronal lipopigment is considered to be cellular debris from processes of renewal of cellular constituents, but it can also reflect cell damage and certain diseases. Acetyl-L-carnitine (AC) has been reported to reduce some morphological and behavioral associations of brain aging and the present study investigated the effects of 37 weeks of AC administration on lipopigment in rat Purkinje neurons. Lipopigment was identified by fluorescence microscopy and the area enclosed by an outline of each discrete region of lipopigment was measured. Acetyl-L-carnitine was associated with a significant (p = 0.05) reduction in the number of discrete lipopigment regions and there was a significant (p = 0.001) association of AC administration with numbers of lipopigment regions in various size categories. As AC administration was associated with a reduction in some of the aging-related morphological changes in lipopigment, this compound is a candidate for evaluation as a long-term prophylactic agent for the adverse effects of cerebral aging.