Similar patterns of clonally expanded somatic mtDNA mutations in the colon of heterozygous mtDNA mutator mice and ageing humans
Mitochondrial DNA mutations and associated defects in cytochrome c oxidase (COX) are proposed to play an important role in human ageing; however there have been limited studies on the frequency of these defects in normal mouse ageing. Here we compare COX-deficiency in two epithelial tissues; the colon and the ciliary epithelium, from human and mouse. The pattern of accumulation of COX-deficiency is similar in both tissues in the two species; however the frequency of colonic crypts with COX-deficiency in aged humans is significantly higher than in aged mice, whereas the levels of COX-deficiency in the ciliary epithelium are higher in the mouse than in humans. This suggests the impact of mitochondrial defects on normal ageing may differ significantly between species.