Brain mitochondrial function has been posited to decline with aging. In order to test this hypothesis, cortical and striatal mitochondria were isolated from Fischer 344 rats at 2, 5,11, 24 and 33 months of age. Mitochondrial membrane potential remained stable through 24 months, declining slightly in mitochondria from both brain regions at 33 months. The ability of calcium to induce mitochondrial swelling and depolarization, characteristics of the permeability transition, was remarkably stable through 24 months of age and increased at advanced ages only for cortical, but not striatal, mitochondria. Striatal mitochondria were more sensitive to calcium than were cortical mitochondria throughout the first 2 years of life. A two-fold increased resistance to calcium was observed in striatal mitochondria between 5 and 11 months. Although these measurements do demonstrate changes in mitochondrial function with aging, the changes in polarization are relatively small and the increased cortical susceptibility to the permeability transition only occurred at very advanced ages. Thus mitochondrial decline with advanced age depends upon brain region.