Methionine restriction decreases endogenous oxidative molecular damage and increases mitochondrial biogenesis and uncoupling protein 4 in rat brain.
Aging plays a central role in the occurrence of neurodegenerative diseases. Caloric restriction (CR) mitigates oxidative stress by decreasing the rate of generation of endogenous damage, a mechanism that can contribute to the slowing of the aging rate induced by this intervention. Various reports have recently linked methionine to aging, and methionine restriction (MetR) without energy restriction also increases life span. We have thus hypothesized that MetR can be responsible, at least in part, for the decrease in endogenous oxidative damage in CR. In this investigation we subjected male rats to exactly the same dietary protocol of MetR that is known to increase their life span. We have found that MetR: (1) decreases the mitochondrial complex I content and activity, as well as complex III content, while the complex II and IV, the mitochondrial flavoprotein apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) and ATP content are unchanged; (2) increases the mitochondrial biogenesis factor PGC-1alpha; (3) increases the resistance of brain to metabolic and oxidative stress by increasing mitochondrial uncoupling protein 4 uncoupling protein 4 (UCP4); and (4) decreases mitochondrial oxidative DNA damage and all five different markers of protein oxidation measured and lowers membrane unsaturation in rat brain. No changes were detected for protein amino acid composition. These beneficial MetR-induced changes likely derived from metabolic reprogramming at the cellular and tissue level can play a key role in the protection against aging-associated neurodegenerative disorders.