The influence of age on the mixed function oxidase system from a non-human primate was studied. Microsomes were isolated from the livers of female Macaca nemestrina ranging from 2 to 21 years of age. No significant age-related change was observed in either the cytochrome P-450 content or the NADPH cytochrome c reductase activity. In addition, the ability of the microsomes to metabolize benzo[a]pyrene did not change significantly with age. These observations contradict studies with liver tissue from laboratory rodents in which an age-related decline in the mixed function oxidase system is generally observed. The lipid composition of the liver microsomes was studied also. Both the cholesterol and total phospholipid content of the liver microsomes increased significantly with age; however, the ratio of cholesterol to phospholipid remained constant. The percentage of individual phospholipids in the microsomes changed only slightly with age. These results provide new information on the effect of age on the mixed function oxidase system and indicate that one must be cautious in extrapolating from studies with liver tissue from laboratory rodents to primates.
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