Proteomic identification of brain proteins in the canine model of human aging following a long-term treatment with antioxidants and a program of behavioral enrichment: Relevance to Alzheimer's disease

Wycliffe O. Opii, Gururaj Joshi, Elizabeth Head, N. William Milgram, Bruce A. Muggenburg, Jon B. Klein, William M. Pierce, Carl W. Cotman, D. Allan Butterfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


Aging and age-related disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) are usually accompanied by oxidative stress as one of the main mechanisms contributing to neurodegeneration and cognitive decline. Aging canines develop cognitive dysfunction and neuropathology similar to those seen in humans, and the use of antioxidants results in reductions in oxidative damage and in improvement in cognitive function in this canine model of human aging. In the present study, the effect of a long-term treatment with an antioxidant-fortified diet and a program of behavioral enrichment on oxidative damage was studied in aged canines. To identify the neurobiological mechanisms underlying these treatment effects, the parietal cortex from 23 beagle dogs (8.1-12.4 years) were treated for 2.8 years in one of four treatment groups: i.e., control food-control behavioral enrichment (CC); control food-behavioral enrichment (CE); antioxidant food-control behavioral enrichment (CA); enriched environment-antioxidant-fortified food (EA). We analyzed the levels of the oxidative stress biomarkers, i.e., protein carbonyls, 3-nitrotyrosine (3-NT), and the lipid peroxidation product, 4-hydroxynonenal (HNE), and observed a decrease in their levels on all treatments when compared to control, with the most significant effects found in the combined treatment, EA. Since EA treatment was most effective, we also carried out a comparative proteomics study to identify specific brain proteins that were differentially expressed and used a parallel redox proteomics approach to identify specific brain proteins that were less oxidized following EA. The specific protein carbonyl levels of glutamate dehydrogenase [NAD (P)], glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), α-enolase, neurofilament triplet L protein, glutathione-S-transferase (GST) and fascin actin bundling protein were significantly reduced in brain of EA-treated dogs compared to control. We also observed significant increases in expression of Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase, fructose-bisphosphate aldolase C, creatine kinase, glutamate dehydrogenase and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase. The increased expression of these proteins and in particular Cu/Zn SOD correlated with improved cognitive function. In addition, there was a significant increase in the enzymatic activities of glutathione-S-transferase (GST) and total superoxide dismutase (SOD), and significant increase in the protein levels of heme oxygenase (HO-1) in EA treated dogs compared to control. These findings suggest that the combined treatment reduces the levels of oxidative damage and improves the antioxidant reserve systems in the aging canine brain, and may contribute to improvements in learning and memory. These observations provide insights into a possible neurobiological mechanism underlying the effects of the combined treatment. These results support the combination treatments as a possible therapeutic approach that could be translated to the aging human population who are at risk for age-related neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-70
Number of pages20
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by grants from NIH to DAB [AG-05119; AG-10836], and NIH to CWC [AG12694]. We thank Ms. Mollie Fraim for assistance in preparation of this manuscript.


  • Aging
  • Antioxidants
  • Behavioral enrichment
  • Canine
  • Cognition
  • Memory
  • Oxidative stress
  • Proteomics
  • Redox proteomics
  • β-Amyloid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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