Several cytoskeletal changes are associated with aging which includes alterations in muscle structure leading to muscular atrophy, and weakening of the microtubule network which affects cellular secretion and maintenance of cell shape. Weakening of the microtubule network during meiosis in aging oocytes can result in aneuploidy or trisomic zygotes with increasing maternal age. Imbalances of cytoskeletal organization can lead to disease such as Alzheimer’s, muscular disorders, and cancer.
Because many cytoskeletal diseases are related to age we investigated the effects of aging on microtubule organization in cell cultures of the Drosophila cell model system (Schneider S-1 and Kc23 cell lines). This cell model is increasingly being used as an alternative system to mammalian cell cultures. Drosophila cells are amenable to genetic manipulations and can be used to identify and manipulate genes which are involved in the aging processes. Immunofluorescence, scanning, and transmission electron microscopy were employed for the analysis of microtubule organizing centers (centrosomes) and microtubules at various times after subculturing cells in fresh medium.
Our results reveal that centrosomes and the microtubule network becomes significantly affected in aging cells after 5 days of subculture. At 5-14 days of subculture, 1% abnormal out of 3% mitoses were noted which were clearly distinguishable from freshly subcultured control cells in which 3% of cells undergo normal mitosis with bipolar configurations. Microtubules are also affected in the midbody during cell division. The midbody in aging cells becomes up to 10 times longer when compared with midbodies in freshly subcultured cells. During interphase, microtubules are often disrupted and disorganized, which may indicate improper function related to transport of cell organelles along microtubules.
These results are likely to help explain some cytoskeletal disorders and diseases related to aging.
Source: J Cell Biochem 1999 Aug 1;74(2):229-41
PMID: 10404393, UI: 99332465
(Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, University of Missouri-Columbia 65211, USA. SchattenH@missouri.edu)