J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2022 Sep 23:glac201. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glac201. Online ahead of print.
Mitochondrial dysfunction is a factor potentially contributing to the aging process. However, evidence surrounding changes in mitochondrial function and aging is still limited, therefore this study aimed to investigate further the association between them. Possible confounding factors were included in the statistical analysis to explore the possibility of any independent associations. One thousand seven hundred and sixty-nine participants (619 middle-aged adults (age<65) and 1,150 older adults (age≥65)) from the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand were enrolled onto the study. The clinical characteristics and medical history were collected. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were isolated from venous blood and used for analysis of mitochondrial function. Several parameters pertinent to mitochondrial respiration including non-mitochondrial respiration, basal respiration, maximal respiration, proton leak, and spare respiratory capacity were found to be two to three times lower in the mitochondria isolated from the cells of older adults. Interestingly, the mitochondrial ATP production was only slightly reduced, and the percentage of coupling efficiency of PBMC mitochondria was significantly higher in the older adult group. The mitochondrial mass and oxidative stress were significantly reduced in older adult participants, however, the ratio of oxidative stress to mass was significantly increased. The association of these parameters with age were still shown to be the same from the outcome of the multivariate analyses. The mitochondrial functions and mitochondrial mass in PBMCs were shown to decline in association with age. However, the upregulation of mitochondrial oxidative stress production and mitochondrial coupling efficiency might indicate a compensatory response in mitochondria during aging.