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This article was originally published as:

Guest, J., Grant, R., Mori, T. A., & Croft, K. D. (2014). Changes in oxidative damage, inflammation and [NAD(H)] with age in cerebrospinal fluid. PLoS One, 9(1), 1-8. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085335

ISSN: 1932-6203


119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified


An extensive body of evidence indicates that oxidative stress and inflammation play a central role in the degenerative changes of systemic tissues in aging. However a comparatively limited amount of data is available to verify whether these processes also contribute to normal aging within the brain. High levels of oxidative damage results in key cellular changes including a reduction in available nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), an essential molecule required for a number of vital cellular processes including DNA repair, immune signaling and epigenetic processing.

In this study we quantified changes in [NAD(H)] and markers of inflammation and oxidative damage (F2-isoprostanes, 8-OHdG, total antioxidant capacity) in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of healthy humans across a wide age range (24–91 years). CSF was collected from consenting patients who required a spinal tap for the administration of anesthetic. CSF of participants aged .45 years was found to contain increased levels of lipid peroxidation (F2-isoprostanes) (p = 0.04) and inflammation (IL-6) (p = 0.00) and decreased levels of both total antioxidant capacity (p = 0.00) and NAD(H) (p = 0.05), compared to their younger counterparts.

A positive association was also observed between plasma [NAD(H)] and CSF NAD(H) levels (p = 0.03). Furtheranalysis of the data identified a relationship between alcohol intake and CSF [NAD(H)] and markers of inflammation. The CSF of participants who consumed .1 standard drink of alcohol per day contained lower levels of NAD(H) compared to those who consumed no alcohol (p,0.05). An increase in CSF IL-6 was observed in participants who reported drinking .0–1 (p,0.05) and .1 (p,0.05) standard alcoholic drinks per day compared to those who did not drink alcohol. Taken together these data suggest a progressive age associated increase in oxidative damage, inflammation and reduced [NAD(H)] in the brain which may be exacerbated by alcohol intake.


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At the time of writing Ross Grant was affiliated with Avondale College as a conjoint lecturer.