Brain aging proceeds with cellular and molecular changes in the limbic system. Aging-dependent changes might affect emotion and stress coping, yet the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we show aged (18-month-old) mice exhibit upregulation of NADPH oxidase and oxidative stress in the hippocampus, which mirrors the changes in young (2-month-old) mice subjected to chronic stress. Aged mice that lack p47phox, a key subunit of NADPH oxidase, do not show increased oxidative stress. Aged mice exhibit depression-like behavior following weak stress that does not produce depressive behavior in young mice. Aged mice have reduced expression of the epigenetic factor SUV39H1 and its upstream regulator p-AMPK, and increased expression of Ppp2ca in the hippocampus—changes that occur in young mice exposed to chronic stress. SUV39H1 mediates stress- and aging-induced sustained upregulation of p47phox and oxidative stress. These results suggest that aging increases susceptibility to stress by upregulating NADPH oxidase in the hippocampus.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by a grant (2018R1A2B2001535) from the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, Republic of Korea.
© 2020, The Author(s).