AbstractAged rats exhibit an impaired ability to sustain long-term potentiation in dentate gyrus which correlates with a decrease in arachidonic acid concentration. Here we confirm the previous finding that dietary supplementation with arachidonic acid and its precursor, gamma-linolenic acid, reversed the impairment in LTP in aged rats and report that there is a significant correlation between membrane arachidonic acid concentration and response to tetanic stimulation. We observed that age was associated with decreases in the concentration of vitamins C and E and increased activity of superoxide dismutase, indicative of a compromise in antioxidative defenses; these changes were paralleled by increases in interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) concentration and lipid peroxidation. Dietary manipulation restored polyunsaturated fatty acid concentrations to values observed in tissue prepared from young rats and reversed the age-related changes in vitamins E and C, IL-1beta concentration and superoxide dismutase activity. We propose that these changes reverse the increase in lipid peroxidation and thereby the age-related change in polyunsaturated fatty acids.
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