2Novosibirsk State University, ul. Pirogova 2, 630090 Novosibirsk, Russia
* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received March 24, 2011; Revision received May 16, 2011
Heparan sulfate (HS) and heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPG) play a significant role in brain development, and their structural and quantitative changes are revealed during aging and in neurodegenerative disorders. The mechanism of these changes is not clear, but is likely to be associated with alteration in the expression and/or activity of enzymes responsible for HSPG biosynthesis and degradation. The contents of mRNAs of the genes Ext1 and Ext2 encoding polymerization enzymes and of gene Hpse of heparanase degrading HS were determined in the brain of prematurely aging OXYS rats during early postnatal development and during appearance of signs of brain accelerated aging (at age of 1, 7, 14, 30, 60, and 420 days). Wistar rats of the same age were used as controls. Expression levels of the genes Ext1, Ext2, and Hpse in the brain of rats of both strains were maximal during the two first weeks of life, and the contents of mRNAs of all genes in the brain of newborn and 7-day-old OXYS rats were significantly higher than in Wistar rats. By the 14th day of life the differences leveled, but at the age of 30 days on the background of a decrease in the contents of mRNAs of Ext1, Ext2, and Hpse in OXYS rats they became more pronounced (three-, four-, and twofold, respectively). Differences between the strains were absent at the age of 60 days and 14 months, and expression of all the genes was significantly lower than in the newborn animals. A strong positive correlation was found between contents of mRNAs of all the studied genes, and this suggested that heparanase should be involved in HSPG metabolism together with Ext1 and Ext2. Based on these and earlier findings, we conclude that development of the OXYS rat brain occurs on the background of significant alterations in HSPG metabolism that precede the development of neurodegenerative manifestations recently detected by magnetic resonance imaging.
KEY WORDS: brain aging, heparan sulfate proteoglycans, expression of Ext1, Ext2, and Hpse genes, senescence-accelerated OXYS rats