Recent evidence from apolipoprotein E-deficient (apoE ？/ ？) mice shows that aging and atherosclerosis are closely associated with increased oxidative stress and DNA damage in some cells and tissues. However, bone marrow cells, which are physiologically involved in tissue repair have not yet been investigated. In the present study, we evaluated the influence of aging and hypercholesterolemia on oxidative stress, DNA damage and apoptosis in bone marrow cells from young and aged apoE ？/ ？ mice compared with age-matched wild-type C57BL/6 (C57) mice, using the comet assay and flow cytometry. The production of both superoxide and hydrogen peroxide in bone marrow cells was higher in young apoE ？/ ？ mice than in age-matched C57 mice, and reactive oxygen species were increased in aged C57 and apoE ？/ ？ mice. Similar results were observed when we analyzed the DNA damage and apoptosis. Our data showed that both aging and hypercholesterolemia induce the increased production of oxidative stress and consequently DNA damage and apoptosis in bone marrow cells. This study is the first to demonstrate a functionality decrease of the bone marrow, which is a fundamental extra-arterial source of the cells involved in vascular injury repair.
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