[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies have shown that cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibition with the drugs sildenafil and vardenafil can enhance spatial performance and object recognition in rodent models of learning and memory.
We review recent studies on PDE5 inhibition and report novel data that specifically tests the systemic effects of both pharmacological agents in aged rats using two different spatial learning/memory paradigms.
The 14-unit T-maze was used as a test of egocentric spatial processing that requires rats to learn a series of left/right turns to avoid mild footshock. The Morris water maze is a test of allocentric spatial learning that requires the acquisition of place information to localize a hidden platform relative to distal room cues.
In both cases, acquisition (i.e., learning performance) was not improved, however after a one week drug washout period, aged animals demonstrated improved spatial memory retention compared to aged controls, ruling out simple performance effects.
These findings are discussed in relation to recent reports on the use of PDE inhibitors to treat Alzheimer's disease (AD) dementia and age-related memory impairments. While some report promising pre-clinical results, others note that PDE5 may not be an appropriate target in AD due to a lack of localization within critical brain structures where therapeutic activity is needed. Despite these limitations, PDE5 inhibition may produce beneficial effects via several mechanisms that target predisposing risk factors leading to increased incidence of memory impairment in aged individuals and influence memory consolidation mechanisms that preserve long-term retention of cognitive information.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite a wealth of clinical data showing an association between inflammation and degenerative disorders in the elderly, the immune sensors that causally link systemic inflammation to aging remain unclear. Here we detail a mechanism by which the Nlrp3 inflammasome controls systemic low-grade age-related "sterile" inflammation in both periphery and brain independently of the noncanonical caspase-11 inflammasome. Ablation of Nlrp3 inflammasome protected mice from age-related increases in the innate immune activation, alterations in CNS transcriptome, and astrogliosis. Consistent with the hypothesis that systemic low-grade inflammation promotes age-related degenerative changes, the deficient Nlrp3 inflammasome-mediated caspase-1 activity improved glycemic control and attenuated bone loss and thymic demise. Notably, IL-1 mediated only Nlrp3 inflammasome-dependent improvement in cognitive function and motor performance in aged mice. These studies reveal Nlrp3 inflammasome as an upstream target that controls age-related inflammation and offer an innovative therapeutic strategy to lower Nlrp3 activity to delay multiple age-related chronic diseases.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Metformin is a drug commonly prescribed to treat patients with type 2 diabetes. Here we show that long-term treatment with metformin (0.1% w/w in diet) starting at middle age extends healthspan and lifespan in male mice, while a higher dose (1% w/w) was toxic. Treatment with metformin mimics some of the benefits of calorie restriction, such as improved physical performance, increased insulin sensitivity, and reduced low-density lipoprotein and cholesterol levels without a decrease in caloric intake. At a molecular level, metformin increases AMP-activated protein kinase activity and increases antioxidant protection, resulting in reductions in both oxidative damage accumulation and chronic inflammation. Our results indicate that these actions may contribute to the beneficial effects of metformin on healthspan and lifespan. These findings are in agreement with current epidemiological data and raise the possibility of metformin-based interventions to promote healthy aging.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We previously reported that moderate calorie restriction (CR) has minimal impact on testicular gene expression in young adult rhesus macaques, and no obvious negative impact on semen quality or plasma testosterone levels. We now extend these findings by examining the influence of CR on various aspects of the reproductive axis of older males, including 24-h circulating testosterone levels, testicular gene expression, and testicular morphology. Young adult and old adult male rhesus macaques were subjected to either 30 % CR for 5-7 years, or were fed a standard control diet. Analysis of the 24-h plasma testosterone profiles revealed a significant age-associated decline, but no evidence for CR-induced suppression in either the young or old males. Similarly, expression profiling of key genes associated with testosterone biosynthesis and Leydig cell maintenance showed no significant CR-induced changes in either the young or old animals. The only evidence for CR-associated negative effects on the testis was detected in the old animals at the histological level; when old CR animals were compared with their age-matched controls, there was a modest decrease in seminiferous tubule diameter and epithelium height, with a concomitant increase in the number of depleted germ cell lines. Reassuringly, data from this study and our previous study suggest that moderate CR does not negatively impact 24-h plasma testosterone profiles or testicular gene expression. Although there appear to be some minor CR-induced effects on testicular morphology in old animals, it is unclear if these would significantly compromise fertility.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Resistant starch (RS) is a dietary fiber that exerts multiple beneficial effects. The current study explored the effects of dietary RS on selected brain and behavioral functions in adult and aged rodents. Because glucokinase (GK) expression in hypothalamic arcuate nucleus and area postrema of the brainstem is important for brain glucose sensing, GK mRNA was measured by brain nuclei microdissection and PCR. Adult RS-fed rats had a higher GK mRNA than controls in both brain nuclei, an indicator of improved brain glucose sensing. Next, we tested whether dietary RS improve selected behaviors in aged mice. RS-fed aged mice exhibited (i) an increased eating responses to fasting, a behavioral indicator of improvement in aged brain glucose sensing; (ii) a longer latency to fall from an accelerating rotarod, a behavioral indicator of improved motor coordination; and (iii) a higher serum active glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). Then, GLP-1 receptor null (GLP-1RKO) mice were used to test the role of GLP-1 in brain glucose sensing, and they exhibited impaired eating responses to fasting. We conclude that in rodents (i) dietary RS improves two important indicators of brain function: glucose sensing and motor coordination, and (ii) GLP-1 is important in the optimal feeding response to a fast.
Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 07/2013; · 4.31 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Activity patterns and sleep-wake cycles are among the physiological processes that change most prominently as animals age, and are often good indicators of healthspan. In this study, we used the video-based high-resolution Behavioral Monitoring System (BMS) to monitor the daily activity cycle of tephritid fruit flies Anastrepha ludens over their lifetime. Surprisingly, there was no dramatic change in activity profile with respect to age if flies were consistently fed with a nutritionally balanced diet. However, if flies were fed with sugar-only diet, their activity profile decreased in amplitude at old age, suggesting that suboptimal diet affected activity patterns, and its detrimental effect may not manifest itself until the animal ages. Moreover, by simulating different modes of behavior monitoring with a range of resolution and comparing the resulting conclusions, we confirmed the superior performance of video-based monitoring using high-resolution BMS in accurately representing activity patterns in an insect model.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The adrenal steroid, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), is generally regarded as being a reliable endocrine marker of aging, because in humans and nonhuman primates its circulating concentrations are very high during young adulthood, and the concentrations then decline markedly during aging. Despite promising results from early studies, we were recently surprised to find that caloric restriction (CR) did little to prevent or delay the decline of DHEAS concentrations in old rhesus macaques. Here we summarize the use of circulating DHEAS concentrations as a biomarker of aging in CR studies and suggest reasons for its limited value. Although DHEAS can reliably predict aging in animals maintained on a standard diet, dietary manipulations may affect liver enzymes involved in the metabolism of steroid hormones. Consequently, in CR studies the reliability of using DHEAS as a biomarker of aging may be compromised.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Calorie restriction (CR), a reduction of 10–40% in intake of a nutritious diet, is often reported as the most robust non-genetic mechanism to extend lifespan and healthspan. CR is frequently used as a tool to understand mechanisms behind ageing and age-associated diseases. In addition to and independently of increasing lifespan, CR has been reported to delay or prevent the occurrence of many chronic diseases in a variety of animals. Beneficial effects of CR on outcomes such as immune function, motor coordination and resistance to sarcopenia in rhesus monkeys have recently been reported. We report here that a CR regimen implemented in young and older age rhesus monkeys at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) has not improved survival outcomes. Our findings contrast with an ongoing study at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center (WNPRC), which reported improved survival associated with 30% CR initiated in adult rhesus monkeys (7–14 years) and a preliminary report with a small number of CR monkeys. Over the years, both NIA and WNPRC have extensively documented beneficial health effects of CR in these two apparently parallel studies. The implications of the WNPRC findings were important as they extended CR findings beyond the laboratory rodent and to a long-lived primate. Our study suggests a separation between health effects, morbidity and mortality, and similar to what has been shown in rodents, study design, husbandry and diet composition may strongly affect the life-prolonging effect of CR in a long-lived nonhuman primate.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Calorie restriction (CR) remains the most robust metabolic intervention to extend lifespan and improve healthspan in several species. Using global and targeted mass spectrometry-based metabolomics approaches, here we show that chronic CR prevents age-related changes in specific metabolic signatures. Global metabolomic analysis using ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry detected more than 7,000 metabolites in sera from ad-libitum-fed young, aged, and aged C57BL/6 mice maintained on 40 % CR. Multivariate statistical analysis of mass spectrometry data revealed a clear separation among the young, aged, and aged-CR mice demonstrating the potential of this approach for producing reliable metabolic profiles that discriminate based on age and diet. We have identified 168 discriminating features with high statistical significance (p ≤ 0.001) and validated and quantified three of these metabolites using targeted metabolite analysis. Calorie restriction prevented the age-related alteration in specific metabolites, namely lysophosphatidylcholines (16:1 and 18:4), sphingomyelin (d18:1/12:0), tetracosahexaenoic acid, and 7α-dihydroxy-4-cholesten-3-one, in the serum. Pathway analysis revealed that CR impacted the age-related changes in metabolic byproducts of lipid metabolism, fatty acid metabolism, and bile acid biosynthesis. Our data suggest that metabolomics approach has the potential to elucidate the metabolic mechanism of CR's potential anti-aging effects in larger-scale investigations.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Macronutrient balance is a critical contributor in modulating lifespan and health. Consumption of diets rich in fruits and vegetables provides numerous health benefits. The interactions among macronutrients and botanicals and how they influence aging and health remain elusive. Here we employed a nutritional geometry approach to investigate the interplay among dietary fat, sugar, protein and antioxidant- and polyphenolic-rich freeze-dried açai pulp in modulating lifespan and reproductive output in the Mexican fruit fly, Anastrepha ludens (Loew). Individual flies were cultured on one of the 24 diets made from a combination of 1) sugar and yeast extract (SY) at four ratios, 2) palmitic acid, a saturated fat, at two concentrations and 3) freeze-dried açai pulp at three concentrations. Fat addition decreased lifespan in females on the sugar only diet and the diet with a low SY ratio, while decreasing lifetime reproductive output in flies on the diet with the low SY ratio when compared to SY ratio-matched low fat controls. Açai supplementation promoted survival, while decreasing lifetime reproductive output, in flies on diets with high fat and high sugar but not other diets when compared to diet-matched non-supplemented controls. These findings reveal that the impact of fat and açai on lifespan and reproductive output depends on the dietary content of other macronutrients. Our results reveal the intricate interplay among macronutrients and nutraceuticals, and underscore the importance of taking macronutrient balance into consideration in designing dietary interventions for aging and health.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) remain prevalent even with widespread use of combination antiretroviral therapy (ART), suggesting a potential role for co-morbidities in neurologic decline. Indeed, it is well established that ART drugs, particularly HIV protease inhibitors, can induce hyperlipidemia, lipodystrophy, and insulin resistance; all of which are associated with neurologic impairment. This study was designed to determine how metabolic dysfunction might contribute to cognitive impairment and to reveal specific metabolic co-morbidities that could be targeted to preserve brain function. Adult male C57BL/6 mice were thus treated with clinically relevant doses of lopinavir/ritonavir for 4 weeks, and subjected to thorough metabolic, neurobehavioral, and biochemical analyses. Data show that lopinavir/ritonavir resulted in manifestations of lipodystrophy, insulin resistance, and hyperlipidemia. Evaluation of neurologic function revealed cognitive impairment and increased learned helplessness, but not motor impairment following treatment with lopinavir/ritonavir. Further analyses revealed a significant linear relationship between cognitive performance and specific markers of lipodystrophy and insulin resistance. Finally, analysis of brain injury indicated that lopinavir/ritonavir treatment resulted in cerebrovascular injury associated with decreased synaptic markers and increased inflammation, and that the cerebral cortex was more vulnerable than the cerebellum or hippocampus. Collectively, these data reveal an intimate link between metabolic co-morbidities and cognitive impairment, and suggest that remediation of selective aspects of metabolic syndrome could potentially reduce the prevalence or severity HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders.
Antiviral research 05/2012; 95(1):19-29. · 3.61 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glucocorticoids (GC)--corticosterone (CORT) in rodents and cortisol in primates--are stress-induced hormones secreted by adrenal glands that interact with the hypothalamic pituitary axis. High levels of cortisol in humans are observed in neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD), as well as in diabetes, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and major depression. Experimental models of diabetes in rats and mice have demonstrated that reduction of CORT reduces learning and memory deficits and attenuates loss of neuronal viability and plasticity. In contrast to the negative associations of elevated GC levels, CORT is moderately elevated in dietary restriction (DR) paradigms which are associated with many healthy anti-aging effects including neuroprotection. We demonstrate here in rats that ablating CORT by adrenalectomy (ADX) with replenishment to relatively low levels (30% below that of controls) prior to the onset of a DR regimen (ADX-DR) followed by central administration of the neurotoxin, kainic acid (KA), significantly attenuates learning deficits in a 14-unit T-maze task. The performance of the ADX-DR KA group did not differ from a control group (CON) that did not receive KA and was fed ad libitum (AL). By contrast, the sham-operated DR (SHAM-DR KA) group, SHAM-AL KA group, and ADX-AL KA group demonstrated poorer learning behavior in this task compared to the CON group. Stereological analysis revealed equivalent DR-induced neuroprotection in the SH-DR KA and ADX-DR KA groups, as measured by cell loss in the CA2/CA3 region of the hippocampus, while substantial cell loss was observed in SH-AL and ADX-AL rats. A separate set of experiments was conducted with similar dietary and surgical treatment conditions but without KA administration to examine markers of neurotrophic activity, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), transcriptions factors (pCREB), and chaperone proteins (HSP-70). Under these conditions, we noted elevations in both BDNF and pCREB in ADX DR rats compared to the other groups; whereas, HSP-70, was equivalently elevated in ADX-DR and SH-DR groups and was higher than observed in both SH-AL and ADX-AL groups. These results support findings that DR protects hippocampal neurons against KA-induced cellular insult. However, this neuroprotective effect was further enhanced in rats with a lower-than control level of CORT resulting from ADX and maintained by exogenous CORT supplementation. Our results then suggest that DR-induced physiological elevation of GC may have negative functional consequences to DR-induced beneficial effects. These negative effects, however, can be compensated by other DR-produced cellular and molecular protective mechanisms.
Neurobiology of aging 01/2012; 33(10):2398-410. · 5.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have previously reported that a modified Stone T-maze (STM), using escape from water as motivation, was effective in evaluating learning and memory ability in young C57/BL6 mice. Here we report on the effectiveness and sensitivity of the STM in the assessment of age-related learning and memory deficits in mice using either escape from foot shock or water as the motivational manipulations. C57BL/6Nia mice 7-, 12-, 20- and 24-months old received 15 massed trials in the escape from foot shock motivated STM while C57BL/6Nia mice 5-, 12-, and 25-months old were tested in the escape from water STM. Analysis of errors, the main performance variable, revealed similar results in both versions of the task with younger mice making fewer errors. Notably, mice of all ages in the water-motivated version moved quickly through the maze, while all ages of mice in the shock-motivated version tended to wait for shock to be initiated to move forward. Overall, both versions of the STM appear to be sensitive to age-related changes in learning and memory and provide an alternative to other testing paradigms such as the Morris water maze which are susceptible to performance confounds which can lead to uninterpretable results.
Neurobiology of aging 01/2012; 33(10):2431-9. · 5.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Calorie restriction (CR) is a reliable anti-aging intervention that attenuates the onset of a number of age-related diseases, reduces oxidative damage, and maintains function during aging. In the current study, we assessed the effects of CR and other feeding regimens on wound healing in 7-month-old Fischer-344 rats from a larger cohort of rats that had been fed either ad libitum (AL) or 40% calorie restricted based on AL consumption. Rats were assigned to one of three diet groups that received three skin punch wounds along the dorsal interscapular region (12-mm diameter near the front limbs) of the back as follows: (1) CR (n = 8) were wounded and maintained on CR until they healed, (2) AL (n = 5) were wounded and maintained on AL until wound closure was completed, and (3) CR rats were refed (RF, n = 9) AL for 48 h prior to wounding and maintained on AL until they healed. We observed that young rats on CR healed more slowly while CR rats refed for 48 h prior to wounding healed as fast as AL fed rats, similar to a study reported in aged CR and RF mice (Reed et al. 1996). Our data suggest that CR subjects, regardless of age, fail to heal well and that provision of increased nutrition to CR subjects prior to wounding enhances the healing process.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The role of telomere attrition in limiting the replicative capacity of cells in culture is well established. In humans, epidemiologic evidence suggests telomere length (TL) in leukocytes is highly variable at birth and inversely related to age. Although calorie restriction (CR) significantly increases life span in most rodent models, its association with TL is unknown. Using linear regression analysis, TLs (as measured by Southern blot analysis) of skeletal muscle (a postmitotic tissue that largely represents early development TL), fat, leukocytes, and skin were tested for effects of age, sex, and diet in 48 control and 23 calorie restriction rhesus monkeys. After controlling for the individual's muscle mean TL, differences between leukocytes muscle and skin muscle were significantly associated with age (p = .002; p = .002) and sex (p = .003; p = .042), but not calorie restriction (p = .884; p = .766). Despite an age-dependent shortening of TL in leukocytes and skin, calorie restriction did not significantly affect TL dynamics in these samples.
The Journals of Gerontology Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 08/2011; 66(11):1163-8. · 4.31 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adiponectin exerts multiple regulatory functions in the body and in the hypothalamus primarily through activation of its two receptors, adiponectin receptor1 and adiponectin receptor 2. Recent studies have shown that adiponectin receptors are widely expressed in other areas of the brain including the hippocampus. However, the functions of adiponectin in brain regions other than the hypothalamus are not clear. Here, we report that adiponectin can protect cultured hippocampal neurons against kainic acid-induced (KA) cytotoxicity. Adiponectin reduced the level of reactive oxygen species, attenuated apoptotic cell death, and also suppressed activation of caspase-3 induced by KA. Pretreatment of hippocampal primary neurons with an AMPK inhibitor, compound C, abolished adiponectin-induced neuronal protection. The AMPK activator, 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-beta-D-ribofuranoside, attenuated KA-induced caspase-3 activity. These findings suggest that the AMPK pathway is critically involved in adiponectin-induced neuroprotection and may mediate the antioxidative and anti-apoptotic properties of adiponectin.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We saw 2 patients who lost their sense of taste, which was restored by pharmacologic doses of biotin. The key objective is to describe the 2 case reports and suggest a potential treatment for unexplained loss of taste.
The first patient was a 67-year-old woman who lost her sense of taste taking Juvenon, a dietary herbal supplement containing acyl-L-carnitine, lipoic acid, calcium, phosphorus, and biotin 300 μg per day. The second patient was a 60-year-old man who lost his sense of taste after a sleeve gastrectomy for obesity.
The first patient did not respond to 5 mg per day of biotin, but taste was restored with 10 mg of biotin per day. Biotin was prescribed based on information that lipoic acid bound to the biotin transporter. Baseline urine gave no evidence of a pre-existing biotin deficiency. The second patient did not have restoration of taste after taking biotin 5 mg per day for 7 weeks but did have taste restoration on biotin 20 mg per day. Neither subject had an abnormal biotinidase level.
Further research into the relationship of biotin to taste is clearly indicated. Loss of taste was very distressing and significantly altered the quality of life for both patients. Since biotin up to 40 mg per day has been shown to be safe, a therapeutic trial of pharmacologic doses of biotin should be considered as a potentially curative treatment in patients who present with a loss of taste that has no obvious cause.
Journal of the American College of Nutrition 06/2011; 30(3):178-81. · 1.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Similar to patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), dogs exhibit age-dependent cognitive decline, amyloid-β (Aβ) pathology, and evidence of cholinergic hypofunction. The present study sought to further investigate the role of cholinergic hypofunction in the canine model by examining the effect of the cholinesterase inhibitors phenserine and donepezil on performance of two tasks, a delayed non-matching-to-position task (DNMP) designed to assess working memory, and an oddity discrimination learning task designed to assess complex learning, in aged dogs. Phenserine (0.5 mg/kg; PO) significantly improved performance on the DNMP at the longest delay compared to wash-out and partially attenuated scopolamine-induced deficits (15 μg/kg; SC). Phenserine also improved learning on a difficult version of an oddity discrimination task compared to placebo, but had no effect on an easier version. We also examined the effects of three doses of donepezil (0.75, 1.5, and 6 mg/kg; PO) on performance of the DNMP. Similar to the results with phenserine, 1.5 mg/kg of donepezil improved performance at the longest delay compared to baseline and wash-out, indicative of memory enhancement. These results further extend the findings of cholinergic hypofunction in aged dogs and provide pharmacological validation of the canine model with a cholinesterase inhibitor approved for use in AD. Collectively, these studies support utilizing the aged dog in future screening of therapeutics for AD, as well as for investigating the links among cholinergic function, Aβ pathology, and cognitive decline.