[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reliable and valid biomarkers of ageing (BoA) are needed to understand mechanisms, test interventions and predict the timing of adverse health events associated with ageing. Since increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and mitochondrial dysfunction are consequences of cellular senescence and may contribute causally to the ageing of organisms, we focused on these parameters as candidate BoA. Superoxide levels, mitochondrial mass and mitochondrial membrane potential in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and subpopulations (lymphocytes and monocytes) were measured in participants from the Newcastle 85+ study, a population-based study of the very old (aged 85 years and older). The intra- and inter-assay precision expressed as coefficient of variation (CV) for all parameters was acceptable (3% to 12% and 5 to 22% respectively). All parameters were stable in the short-term (1 week interval) in a sample of control individuals in the PBMCs and lymphocyte subpopulation, however they were unstable in the monocyte subpopulation; this rendered monocytes unreliable for further analysis. There was a significant association between superoxide levels and mitochondrial mass (positive in lymphocytes, p = 0.01) and between superoxide levels and mitochondrial membrane potential (negative in PBMCs, p = 0.01; positive in lymphocytes, p = 0.05). There were also significant associations between superoxide levels and mitochondrial parameters with other markers of oxidative stress-induced cellular senescence (p≤0.04), however some were in the opposite direction to expected. No associations were found between the measured parameters and age-related outcomes, including cognitive impairment, disability, co-morbidity and survival - questioning the validity of these parameters as candidate BoA in the very old.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(3):e91005. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: to examine the association between subjective and objective measures of sleep and wake and other health parameters in a cohort of the very old.
a population-based cohort study.
primary care, North East England.Participants: four hundred and twenty-one men and women, aged 87-89, recruited to the Newcastle 85+ Study cohort.
sleep questionnaires were administered and sleep-wake patterns were assessed over 5-7 days with a novel wrist triaxial accelerometer. Associations between sleep measures and various health parameters, including mortality at 24 months, were examined.
only 16% of participants perceived their sleep as severely disturbed as assessed with questionnaire responses. Wrist accelerometry showed marked variation between normal and abnormal sleep-wake cycles that did not correlate with the participants' perception of sleep. Impaired sleep-wake cycles were significantly associated with cognitive impairment, disability, depression, increased falls, body mass index and arthritis but not with any other specific disease markers and with decreased survival.
commonly used sleep questionnaires do not differentiate well between those with objectively determined disturbance of sleep-wake cycles and those with normal cycles. Abnormal sleep-wake patterns are associated with institutionalisation, cognitive impairment, disability, depression and arthritis but not with other diseases; there is also an association with reduced survival.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DNA repair mechanisms are important for genome stability and to prevent accumulation of DNA damage, which contributes to cellular ageing and cancer development. Study of these physiological processes requires robust and practical assays to quantify DNA repair capacity. The in vitro comet-based assay is a simple, yet reliable, assay for measurement of DNA repair and has been modified recently to quantify DNA incision activity in mouse brain and liver. In this study, we applied this assay to assess DNA incision activity in other mouse tissues, i.e. lung and colon, and found that high, non-specific nuclease activity was a problem when measuring DNA incision activity, especially in the colon. We tested the utility of multiple optimisation steps including addition of aphidicolin, ATP and polyAT and used multiple wash steps, which resulted in modest improvements in performance of the assay. Washing the tissues before protein extraction and decreasing the protein concentration in the assay were the most effective steps in reducing non-specific nuclease activity. Using the comet-based assay with these further modifications, we found that base excision repair incision activity changed with age differently in each tissue. This study shows that non-specific nuclease activity in the comet-based assay for DNA repair is more pronounced in some tissues than others so care should be taken to optimise the protocol when applying the assay to a new tissue. Our data suggest the importance of using control cells (noRo cells incubated with extract) in the assay to assess for non-specific nuclease activity. In conclusion, the comet-based DNA repair assay can be easily adapted to study a range of mammalian tissues.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In order to manage the rise in life expectancy and the concomitant increased occurrence of age-related diseases, research into ageing has become a strategic priority. Mouse models are commonly utilised as they share high homology with humans and show many similar signs and diseases of ageing. However, the time and cost needed to rear aged cohorts can limit research opportunities. Sharing of resources can provide an ethically and economically superior framework to overcome some of these issues but requires dedicated infrastructure. Shared Ageing Research Models (ShARM) ( www.ShARMUK.org ) is a new, not-for-profit organisation funded by Wellcome Trust, open to all investigators. It collects, stores and distributes flash frozen tissues from aged murine models through its biorepository and provides a database of live ageing mouse colonies available in the UK and abroad. It also has an online environment (MICEspace) for collation and analysis of data from communal models and discussion boards on subjects such as the welfare of ageing animals and common endpoints for intervention studies. Since launching in July 2012, thanks to the generosity of researchers in UK and Europe, ShARM has collected more than 2,500 tissues and has in excess of 2,000 mice registered in live ageing colonies. By providing the appropriate support, ShARM has been able to bring together the knowledge and experience of investigators in the UK and Europe to maximise research outputs with little additional cost and minimising animal use in order to facilitate progress in ageing research.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Can the basal epithelial compartment of the human endometrium be defined by specific markers?
Human endometrial epithelial cells from the basalis express nuclear SOX9 and the cell-surface marker SSEA-1, with some cells expressing nuclear β-catenin. In vitro, primary endometrial epithelial cells enriched for SSEA-1+ show some features expected of the basalis epithelium.
The endometrial glands of the functionalis regenerate from the basalis gland stumps following menstruation. Endometriosis is thought to originate from abnormal dislocation of the basalis endometrium. In the highly regenerative intestinal epithelium, SOX9 and nuclear β-catenin are more highly expressed in the intestinal crypt, the stem/progenitor cell region.
A large prospective observational study analysing full-thickness human endometrial hysterectomy samples from 115 premenopausal women, 15 post-menopausal women and ectopic endometriotic lesions from 20 women with endometriosis.
Full-thickness endometrium from hysterectomy tissues was analysed by immunohistochemistry for SSEA-1, SOX9 and β-catenin. Primary human endometrial epithelial cells from short-term cultures were sorted into SSEA1+/- fractions with a cell sorter or magnetic beads and analysed for markers of differentiation and pluripotency and telomere lengths (TLs) using qPCR, telomerase activity [telomere repeat amplification protocol (TRAP)] and growth in 3D culture.
Similar to the intestinal crypt epithelium, human endometrial basal glandular epithelial cells expressed nuclear SOX9 and contained a rare subpopulation of cells with nuclear β-catenin suggestive of an activated Wnt pathway. The embryonic stem cell-surface marker, SSEA-1, also marked the human endometrial basal glandular epithelial cells, and isolated SSEA-1(+) epithelial cells grown in monolayer showed significantly higher expression of telomerase activity, longer mean TLs, lower expression of genes for steroid receptors and produced a significantly higher number of endometrial gland-like spheroids in 3D culture compared with SSEA-1(-) epithelial cells (P = 0.009). Cells in ectopic endometriosis lesions also expressed SSEA-1 and nuclear SOX9, suggesting that the basalis contributes to ectopic lesion formation in endometriosis following retrograde menstruation.
This is a descriptive study with only short-term culture of the primary human epithelial cells in vitro.
The surface marker SSEA1 enriches for an endometrial epithelial cell subpopulation from the basalis. Since the functional endometrium originates from these cells, it is now possible to study basalis epithelium for stem/progenitor cell activity to extend our current understanding of endometrial biology in health and diseases.
The work included in this manuscript was funded by Wellbeing of Women project grant RG1073 (D.K.H. and C.G.). We also acknowledge the support by National Health and Medical Research Council, RD Wright Career Development Award 465121 and Senior Research Fellowship 1042298, and the Victorian Government's Operation Infrastructure Support Program to C.G. and MRC G0601333 to T.V.Z. All authors have no conflict of interest to declare. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: N/A.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Biliary epithelial cells (BEC) are important targets in some liver diseases, including acute allograft rejection. Although some injured BEC die, many can survive in function compromised states of senescence or phenotypic de-differentiation. This study was performed to examine changes in the phenotype of BEC during acute liver allograft rejection and the mechanism driving these changes. Liver allograft sections showed a positive correlation (p < 0.0013) between increasing T cell mediated acute rejection and the number of BEC expressing the senescence marker p21(WAF1/Cip) or the mesenchymal marker S100A4. This was modeled in vitro by examination of primary or immortalized BEC after acute oxidative stress. During the first 48 h, the expression of p21(WAF1/Cip) was increased transiently before returning to baseline. After this time BEC showed increased expression of mesenchymal proteins with a decrease in epithelial markers. Analysis of TGF-β expression at mRNA and protein levels also showed a rapid increase in TGF-β2 (p < 0.006) following oxidative stress. The epithelial de-differentiation observed in vitro was abrogated by pharmacological blockade of the ALK-5 component of the TGF-β receptor. These data suggest that stress induced production of TGF-β2 by BEC can modify liver allograft function by enhancing the de-differentiation of local epithelial cells.
American Journal of Transplantation 06/2013; · 6.19 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inherited genetic variation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) could account for the missing heritability of human longevity and healthy aging. Here, we show no robust association between common genetic variants of mtDNA and frailty (an "unhealthy aging" phenotype) or mortality in 700, more than 85-year-old, participants of the Newcastle 85+ study. Conflicting data from different populations underscore our conclusion that there is currently no compelling link between inherited mtDNA variants and aging.
Neurobiology of aging 04/2013; · 5.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cellular senescence is a state of irreversible cell cycle arrest, accompanied by and in most cases driven by a persistent DNA damage response (DDR), which may be activated by uncapped telomeres or other forms of DNA damage. DNA damage foci, therefore, are an important part of the signaling pathway that induces cell senescence. however, similar foci can also be observed in proliferating cells, for instance as a result of replicative stress. Identifying the phenotypic differences between the DDR of young, proliferation-competent cells and senescent cells is therefore important for establishing the cellular DDR as a marker of senescence. Here, we describe various methods by which the DDR can be used as a robust marker of cellular senescence, and how to utilize a DDR marker to investigate the induction and stabilization of the senescent phenotype.
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 01/2013; 965:197-213.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Countless studies have implicated reactive oxygen species (ROS) and mitochondrial dysfunction in the ageing process. During cellular senescence, the ultimate and irreversible loss of replicative capacity of somatic cells grown in culture, several studies have reported increased levels of ROS associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and metabolic inefficiency. Moreover, studies have revealed that interventions modulating intracellular ROS can impact on the replicative lifespan of cultured cells, suggesting that ROS play a central role in the process. In this chapter, we present several protocols used for detection of (intra- and extracellular) ROS in live cells.
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 01/2013; 965:253-63.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In senescent cells, a DNA damage response drives not only irreversible loss of replicative capacity but also production and secretion of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and bioactive peptides including pro-inflammatory cytokines. This makes senescent cells a potential cause of tissue functional decline in aging. To our knowledge, we show here for the first time evidence suggesting that DNA damage induces a senescence-like state in mature postmitotic neurons in vivo. About 40-80% of Purkinje neurons and 20-40% of cortical, hippocampal and peripheral neurons in the myenteric plexus from old C57Bl/6 mice showed severe DNA damage, activated p38MAPkinase, high ROS production and oxidative damage, interleukin IL-6 production, heterochromatinization and senescence-associated β-galactosidase activity. Frequencies of these senescence-like neurons increased with age. Short-term caloric restriction tended to decrease frequencies of positive cells. The phenotype was aggravated in brains of late-generation TERC-/- mice with dysfunctional telomeres. It was fully rescued by loss of p21(CDKN1A) function in late-generation TERC-/-CDKN1A-/- mice, indicating p21 as the necessary signal transducer between DNA damage response and senescence-like phenotype in neurons, as in senescing fibroblasts and other proliferation-competent cells. We conclude that a senescence-like phenotype is possibly not restricted to proliferation-competent cells. Rather, dysfunctional telomeres and/or accumulated DNA damage can induce a DNA damage response leading to a phenotype in postmitotic neurons that resembles cell senescence in multiple features. Senescence-like neurons might be a source of oxidative and inflammatory stress and a contributor to brain aging.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Age-related frailty is an increasing societal challenge with growing emphasis on identifying its underlying pathophysiology and prospects for intervention. We report findings from the first comprehensive study of frailty and biomarkers of inflammation, immunosenescence and cellular ageing in the very old. Using cross-sectional data from the Newcastle 85+ Study (n=845, aged 85), frailty was operationalized by the Fried and Rockwood models and biomarker associations explored using regression analysis. We confirmed the importance of inflammatory markers (IL-6, TNF-alpha, CRP, neutrophils) in frailty in the very old, previously established only in younger-old populations. Limited evidence was found for immunosenescence in frailty; although total lymphocyte count was inversely related, no association was found with the immune risk profile and the inverse associations observed with memory/naïve CD8 T and B cell ratios were in the opposite direction to that expected. We found no association with frailty in the very old for CMV sero-positivity, telomere length, markers of oxidative stress or DNA damage and repair. The Fried and Rockwood frailty models measure different albeit overlapping concepts yet biomarker associations were generally consistent between models. Difficulties in operationalizing the Fried model, due to high levels of co-morbidity, limit its utility in the very old.
Mechanisms of ageing and development 06/2012; 133(6):456-66. · 4.18 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MeDIP (Methylated DNA Immunoprecipitation) is a relatively recent technique aimed to enrich the methylated fraction of DNA with an antibody directed against 5-methyl-cytosine. MeDIP processed samples are suitable for investigation of the methylation status of specific genomic loci and for performing genome-wide screening when hybridized to DNA methylation microarrays or analyzed by deep sequencing. Here, we describe a standardization protocol and quality controls to assess the specificity, reproducibility and efficiency of the MeDIP procedure. These may have utility when comparing results between samples and experiments within laboratories and between laboratories.
Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 06/2012; 7(6):615-25. · 4.58 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The DNA damage response (DDR) orchestrates the recruitment of repair proteins at sites of damage and arrests cell-cycle progression until completion of repair. Upon irreparable damage, DNA damage foci persist (long-lived foci) and this is believed to induce cellular senescence. The resolution of DNA damage foci has previously been shown to depend on proteasomal degradation and various proteasome subunits have been implicated in the DDR. In this study, we aimed to analyze the possible distinct roles of individual proteasome subunits in the DDR. We show that specific 19S subunits respond to DNA damage by increased protein levels and nuclear translocation. Importantly, two 19S subunits, Rpn7 and Rpn11, colocalize with DNA damage foci over their whole lifespan. Although silencing of Rpn11 does not affect foci stability and lifespan, silencing of Rpn7 promotes faster resolution of DNA damage foci following genotoxic insult. For the first time, we provide evidence that Rpn7 silencing specifically decreases the frequencies of long-lived DNA damage foci without, however, affecting the repair rate of short-lived foci. Therefore, we propose that interaction of Rpn7 with DDR foci in situ mediates the protection of DNA damage foci from premature resolution. We suggest that this interaction is involved in enabling cellular senescence following genotoxic insult.
International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Life 05/2012; 64(5):432-42. · 2.79 Impact Factor