The main purpose of the present study was to test the hypothesis that the aging process is associated with a pro-oxidizing shift in the cellular redox state. The amounts of the redox-sensitive free aminothiols (glutathione, cysteine, Cys-Gly and methionine) and protein mixed disulphides were measured at different ages and ambient temperatures in Drosophila melanogaster. GSH/GSSG ratios decreased significantly with increasing age of the flies, due to an increase in GSSG content. Concentrations of Cys-Gly increased and methionine decreased with age. The amounts of protein mixed disulphides, measured as protein-cysteinyl, protein-Cys-Gly and protein-glutathionyl mixed disulphides, increased as a function of age. The pattern of changes in free aminothiol content, glutathione-redox state and protein mixed disulphides varied in proportion to the ambient temperature, which is inversely related to the life expectancy of the flies. Collectively, these results support the idea that the pro-oxidizing shift in the glutathione-redox state, the decrease in methionine content and increase in abundance of protein mixed disulphides are associated with the life expectancy of flies, and are indicative of enhanced oxidative stress during aging.

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