Mitochondrial DNA deletions and differential mitochondrial DNA content in Rhesus monkeys: Implications for aging

Peizhong Mao, Patience Gallagher, Samira Nedungadi, Maria Manczak, Ulziibat P. shirendeb, Steven G. Kohama, Betsy Ferguson, Byung S. Park, P. Hemachandra Reddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) deletions, mtDNA content and aging in rhesus monkeys. Using 2 sets of specific primers, we amplified an 8. kb mtDNA fragment covering a common 5.7. kb deletion and the entire 16.5. kb mitochondrial genome in the brain and buffy-coats of young and aged monkeys. We studied a total of 66 DNA samples: 39 were prepared from a buffy-coat and 27 were prepared from occipital cortex tissues. The mtDNA data were assessed using a permutation test to identify differences in mtDNA, in the different monkey groups. Using real-time RT-PCR strategy, we also assessed both mtDNA and nuclear DNA levels for young, aged and male and female monkeys. We found a 5.7. kb mtDNA deletion in 81.8% (54 of 66) of the total tested samples. In the young group of buffy-coat DNA, we found 5.7. kb deletions in 7 of 17 (41%), and in the aged group, we found 5.7. kb deletions in 12 of 22 (54%), suggesting that the prevalence of mtDNA deletions is related to age. We found decreased mRNA levels of mtDNA in aged monkeys relative to young monkeys. The increases in mtDNA deletions and mtDNA levels in aged rhesus monkeys suggest that damaged DNA accumulates as rhesus monkeys age and these altered mtDNA changes may have physiological relevance to compensate decreased mitochondrial function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-119
Number of pages9
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • Mitochondrial DNA deletion
  • Mitochondrial-encoded DNA
  • Real-time RT-PCR
  • Rhesus monkeys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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