The Brown Norway/Fischer 344 F1 hybrid rats (F344BNF1) is a newer rat model and is emerging as an important rodent model of aging. In the present study we used motoric performance tests, intracerebral microdialysis, and neurochemical measures of postmortem brain tissue to investigate the effects of aging in young (4-5 months), middle-aged (18-19), and old (24-25 months) F344BNF1 hybrid rats. We observed that old F344BNF1 rats exhibited decreased motoric performance, and lower levels of spontaneous and d-amphetamine-induced locomotor activity than those observed in young F344BNF1 rats. Microdialysis measures of extracellular basal levels of dopamine (DA), 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC), and 4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenylacetic acid (HVA) were significantly diminished in the striata of the middle-aged and old rats as compared to levels in young animals. In addition, d-amphetamine-evoked overflow of DA was significantly decreased in the middle-aged and aged rat striatum as compared to DA overflow in young F344BNF1 rats. Studies of postmortem brain tissue showed that the changes in overflow of DA correlated with significantly lower DA tissue content in ventral striatum and midbrain. Moreover, both dopamine turnover ratios (DOPAC/DA, HVA/DA) and the serotonin turnover ratio (5-HIAA/5-HT) were significantly elevated in the ventral striatum and nucleus accumbens. The results of this study demonstrate a correlation between reductions in striatal DA neurochemistry and diminished motor function in aged F344BNF1 rats.
Copyright 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.