Mitochondria are important cellular organelles with key regulatory functions in energy production, oxidative balance, and calcium homeostasis. This is especially important in the brain, since neurons require a large number of functional mitochondria to supply their high energy requirement, mainly for synaptic processes. A decrease in the activity and quality of mitochondria in the brain, particularly in the hippocampus, is associated with normal aging and a large number of neurodegenerative diseases compromising memory function. Although synaptic and cognitive dysfunction is multifactorial, growing evidence demonstrates that mitochondria play a key role in these processes and suggests that maintaining mitochondrial function could prevent these age-dependent alterations. In this chapter, we will discuss the hippocampal mitochondrial dysfunction present in aging and how these defects promote age-associated synaptic damage and cognitive impairment. We will summarize evidence that shows how neurodegeneration can be accelerated or attenuated during aging by modulating mitochondrial function.
Part of the book: Mitochondria and Brain Disorders
The hippocampus is an integral portion of the limbic system and executes a critical role in spatial and recognition learning, memory encoding, and memory consolidation. Hippocampal aging showed neurobiological alterations, including increased oxidative stress, altered intracellular signaling pathways, synaptic impairment, and organelle deterioration such as mitochondrial dysfunction. These alterations lead to hippocampal cognitive decline during aging. Therefore, the search for new non-invasive therapies focused on preserving or attenuating age-related hippocampal memory impairment could have of great impact on aging, considering the increasing life expectancy in the world. Red light Transcranial LED therapy (RL-TCLT) is a promising but little explored strategy, which involves red light LED irradiation without surgical procedures, safe and at a low cost. Nevertheless, the precise mechanism involved and its real impact on age-related cognitive impairment is unclear, due to differences in protocol, wavelength applied, and time. Therefore, in this chapter, we will discuss the evidence about RL-TCLT and its effects on the hippocampal structure and function, and how this therapy could be used as a promising treatment for memory loss during aging and in age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Finally, we will mention our advances in Red 630-light-Transcranial LED therapy on the hippocampus in aging and AD.
Part of the book: Hippocampus