[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cells exposed to extreme physicochemical or mechanical stimuli die in an uncontrollable manner, as a result of their immediate structural breakdown. Such an unavoidable variant of cellular demise is generally referred to as /`accidental cell death/' (ACD). In most settings, however, cell death is initiated by a genetically encoded apparatus, correlating with the fact that its course can be altered by pharmacologic or genetic interventions. /`Regulated cell death/' (RCD) can occur as part of physiologic programs or can be activated once adaptive responses to perturbations of the extracellular or intracellular microenvironment fail. The biochemical phenomena that accompany RCD may be harnessed to classify it into a few subtypes, which often (but not always) exhibit stereotyped morphologic features. Nonetheless, efficiently inhibiting the processes that are commonly thought to cause RCD, such as the activation of executioner caspases in the course of apoptosis, does not exert true cytoprotective effects i
Cell death and differentiation 09/2014; · 8.24 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During cell cycle arrest caused by contact inhibition (CI), cells do not undergo senescence, thus resuming proliferation after replating. The mechanism of senescence avoidance during CI is unknown. Recently, it was demonstrated that the senescence program, namely conversion from cell cycle arrest to senescence (i.e., geroconversion), requires mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Geroconversion can be suppressed by serum starvation, rapamycin, and hypoxia, which all inhibit mTOR. Here we demonstrate that CI, as evidenced by p27 induction in normal cells, was associated with inhibition of the mTOR pathway. Furthermore, CI antagonized senescence caused by CDK inhibitors. Stimulation of mTOR in contact-inhibited cells favored senescence. In cancer cells lacking p27 induction and CI, mTOR was still inhibited in confluent culture as a result of conditioning of the medium. This inhibition of mTOR suppressed p21-induced senescence. Also, trapping of malignant cells among contact-inhibited normal cells antagonized p21-induced senescence. Thus, we identified two nonmutually exclusive mechanisms of mTOR inhibition in high cell density: (i) CI associated with p27 induction in normal cells and (ii) conditioning of the medium, especially in cancer cells. Both mechanisms can coincide in various proportions in various cells. Our work explains why CI is reversible and, most importantly, why cells avoid senescence in vivo, given that cells are contact-inhibited in the organism.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 06/2014;
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent discoveries have revealed the key role of mTOR (target of rapamycin) in aging. Furthermore, rapamycin extends lifespan in mice, especially in female mice. Here, we treated obese male mice on high-fat diet with rapamycin given intermittently: either weekly (once a week) or alternating bi-weekly (three injections every other week). While only marginally reducing obesity, intermittent administration of rapamycin significantly extended lifespan. Significance was achieved for weekly treated group and for the three rapamycin-received groups combined. In weekly treatment group, 100% mice were alive by the age of 2 years, whereas 60% of mice died in untreated group by this age. The effect of weekly treatment on survival was highly significant and cannot be fully explained by partial reduction in obesity. Alternating bi-weekly treatments seem to be less effective than weekly treatment, although effects of additional factors (see ) may not be excluded. After one year of treatment, all survived mice were sacrificed 8 days after the last administration of rapamycin to avoid its direct interference with parameters examined. Fasting levels of cardiac and hepatic p-S6, a marker of mTORC1 activity, were lower in weekly treatment group compared with control mice. In contrast, levels of p-Akt (S473), glucose, triglycerides and insulin were unchanged, whereas leptin and IGF-1 tended to be lower. Thus, weekly treatment with rapamycin may slow down aging in obese male mice on high-fat diet.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Target of Rapamycin (TOR) is involved in cellular and organismal aging. Rapamycin extends lifespan and delays cancer in mice. It is important to determine the minimum effective dose and frequency of its administration that still extends lifespan and prevents cancer. Previously we tested 1.5 mg/kg of rapamycin given subcutaneously 6 times per two weeks followed by a two-week break (1.5 × 6/bi-weekly schedule: total of 6 injections during a 4-week period). This intermittent treatment prolonged lifespan and delayed cancer in cancer-prone female FVB/N HER-2/neu mice. Here, the dose was decreased from 1.5 mg/kg to 0.45 mg/kg per injection. This treatment was started at the age of 2 months (group Rap-2), 4 months (Rap-4), and 5 months (Rap-5). Three control groups received the solvent from the same ages. Rapamycin significantly delayed cancer and decreased tumor burden in Rap-2 and Rap-5 groups, increased mean lifespan in Rap-4 and Rap-5 groups, and increased maximal lifespan in Rap-2 and Rap-5 groups. In Rap-4 group, mean lifespan extension was achieved without significant cancer prevention. The complex relationship between life-extension and cancer-prevention depends on both the direct effect of rapamycin on cancer cells and its anti-aging effect on the organism, which in turn prevents cancer indirectly. We conclude that total doses of rapamycin that are an order of magnitude lower than standard total doses can detectably extend life span in cancer-prone mice.
Cancer biology & therapy 02/2014; 15(5). · 3.29 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A groundbreaking publication by Sinclair and coworkers has illuminated the pseudo-hypoxic state in aging and its reversibility. Remarkably, these data also fit the mTOR-centered model of aging. Here we discuss that the mTOR pathway can cause cellular pseudo-hypoxic state, manifested by HIF-1 expression and lactate production under normoxia. We found that rapamycin decreased HIF-1 and lactate levels in proliferating and senescent cells in vitro. This reduction was independent from mitochondrial respiration: rapamycin decreased lactate production in normoxia, hypoxia, and in the presence of the OXPHOS inhibitor oligomycin. We suggest that pseudo-hypoxic state is not necessarily caused by mitochondrial dysfunction, but instead mitochondrial dysfunction may be secondary to mTOR-driven hyperfunctions. Clinical applications of rapamycin for reversing pseudo-hypoxic state and lactate acidosis are discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is involved in insulin resistance (IR) and diabetic retinopathy. In retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells, insulin activates the mTOR pathway, inducing hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) and HIF-dependent transcription in serum-free minimum essential medium Eagle (MEM). Serendipitously, we found that insulin failed to induce the HIF-1α-dependent response, when RPE cells were cultured in Dulbecco's modification of Eagle's medium (DMEM). Whereas concentration of glucose in MEM corresponds to normal glucose levels in blood (5.5 mM), its concentration in DMEM corresponds to severe diabetic hyperglycemia (25 mM). Addition of glucose to MEM also caused IR. Glucose-mediated IR was characterized by basal activation of mTORC1 and its poor inducibility by insulin. Basal levels of phosphorylated S6 kinase (S6K), S6 and insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS1) S635/639 were high, whereas their inducibilities were decreased. Insulin-induced Akt phosphorylation was decreased and restored by rapamycin and an inhibitor of S6K. IR was associated with de-phosphorylation of IRS1 at S1011, which was reversed by rapamycin. Both short (16-40 h) and chronic (2 weeks) treatment with rapamycin reversed IR. Furthermore, rapamycin did not impair Akt activation in RPE cells cultured in normoglycemic media. In contrast, Torin 1 blocked Akt activation by insulin. We conclude that by activating mTOR/S6K glucose causes feedback IR, preventable by rapamycin. Rapamycin does not cause IR in RPE cells regardless of the duration of treatment. We confirmed that rapamycin also did not impair phosphorylation of Akt at T308 and S473 in normal myoblast C2C12 cells. Our work provides insights in glucose-induced IR and suggests therapeutic approaches to treat patients with IR and severe hyperglycemia and to prevent diabetic complications such as retinopathy. Also our results prompt to reconsider physiological relevance of numerous data and paradigms on IR given that most cell lines are cultured with grossly super-physiological levels of glucose.
Cell Death & Disease 01/2014; 5:e1214. · 6.04 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rapalogs such as rapamycin (sirolimus), everolimus, temserolimus, and deforolimus are indicated for the treatment of some malignancies. Rapamycin is the most effective cancer-preventive agent currently known, at least in mice, dramatically delaying carcinogenesis in both normal and cancer-prone murine strains. In addition, rapamycin and everolimus decrease the risk of cancer in patients receiving these drugs in the context of immunosuppressive regimens. In general, the main concern about the use of immunosuppressants in humans is an increased risk of cancer. Given that rapalogs are useful in cancer prevention and therapy, should they be viewed as immunosuppressants or immunostimulators? Or should we reconsider the role of immunity in cancer altogether? In addition to its anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-angiogenic and anti-proliferative effects, rapamycin operates as a gerosuppressant, meaning that it inhibits the cellular conversion to a senescent state (the so-called geroconversion), a fundamental process involved in aging and age-related pathologies including cancer.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent groundbreaking discoveries have revealed that IGF-1, Ras, MEK, AMPK, TSC1/2, FOXO, PI3K, mTOR, S6K, and NFκB are involved in the aging process. This is remarkable because the same signaling molecules, oncoproteins and tumor suppressors, are well-known targets for cancer therapy. Furthermore, anti-cancer drugs aimed at some of these targets have been already developed. This arsenal could be potentially employed for anti-aging interventions (given that similar signaling molecules are involved in both cancer and aging). In cancer, intrinsic and acquired resistance, tumor heterogeneity, adaptation, and genetic instability of cancer cells all hinder cancer-directed therapy. But for anti-aging applications, these hurdles are irrelevant. For example, since anti-aging interventions should be aimed at normal postmitotic cells, no selection for resistance is expected. At low doses, certain agents may decelerate aging and age-related diseases. Importantly, deceleration of aging can in turn postpone cancer, which is an age-related disease.
Cancer biology & therapy 11/2013; 14(12). · 3.29 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aging is not and cannot be programmed. Instead, aging is a continuation of developmental growth, driven by genetic pathways such as mTOR. Ironically, this is often misunderstood as a sort of programmed aging. In contrast, aging is a purposeless quasi-program or, figuratively, a shadow of actual programs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammalian or mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is involved in growth, aging, and age-related diseases including cancer. There is an extensive cross talk between p53 and mTOR. In cell culture, p53 inhibits the mTOR pathway in a cell-type dependent manner. p53-deficient mice develop pro-inflammation and cancer. We have shown that rapamycin delayed cancer and extended lifespan, thus partially substituting for p53. Here we show that a marker of mTOR activity, phosphorylated S6 (p-S6), is increased in the hearts of p53-deficient mice. Furthermore, cardiac p-S6 correlated with body weight. Also, p53(-/-) mice were slightly hyperinsulinemic with a tendency to elevated IGF-1. Radiation exacerbated the difference between IGF-1 levels in normal and p53(-/-) mice. Noteworthy, radiation induced Thr-308 Akt phosphorylation in the livers (but not in the hearts) of both p53(+/+) and p53(-/-) mice. Simultaneously, radiation decreased p-S6 in the livers of normal mice, consistent with the negative effect of p53 on mTOR. Our data indicate that the activity of mTOR is increased in some but not all tissues of p53(-/-) mice, associated with the tendency to increased insulin and IGF-1 levels. Therefore, the absence of p53 may create oncophilic microenvironment, favoring cancer.
Cancer biology & therapy 11/2013; 14(12). · 3.29 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Markers of cellular senescence depend in part on the MTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin) pathway. MTOR participates in geroconversion, a conversion from reversible cell cycle arrest to irreversible senescence. Recently we demonstrated that hyper-induction of cyclin D1 during geroconversion was mostly dependent on MEK, whereas rapamycin only partially inhibited cyclin D1 accumulation. Here we show that, while not affecting cyclin D1, siRNA for p70S6K partially prevented loss of RP (replicative/regenerative potential) during p21-induced cell cycle arrest. Similarly, an inhibitor of p70 S6 kinase (PF-4708671) partially inhibited phosphorylation of S6 and preserved RP, while only marginally prevented cyclin D1 induction. Thus S6K and MEK play different roles in geroconversion.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CDKN1A (p21) and CDKN2A (p16) inhibit CDK4/6, initiating senescence. According to our view on senescence, the role of p21 and p16 is to cause cell cycle arrest, whereas MTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin) drives geroconversion to senescence. Recently we demonstrated that one of the markers of p21- and p16-initiated senescence is MEK-dependent hyper-elevation of cyclin D1. We noticed that a synthetic inhibitor of CDK 4/6 (PD0332991) also induced cyclin D1-positive senescence. We demonstrated that PD0332991 and p21 caused almost identical senescence phenotypes. p21, p16, and PD0332991 do not inhibit MTOR, and rapamycin decelerates geroconversion caused by all 3 molecules. Like p21, PD0332991 initiated senescence at any concentration that inhibited cell proliferation. This confirms the notion that a mere arrest in the presence of active MTOR may lead to senescence.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Making headlines, a thought-provocative paper by Neff F, Ehninger D and coworkers claims that rapamycin extends life span but has limited effects on aging. How is that possibly possible? And what is aging if not an increase of the probability of death with age. I discuss that the JCI paper actually shows that rapamycin slows aging and also extends lifespan regardless of its effects on cancer. Aging, in part, is MTOR-driven quasi-program: a purposeless and harmful continuation of developmental growth. Rapamycin affects the same processes in young and old animals: traits and phenotypes in young animals, which continuations become hyperfunctional, harmful and lethal later in life.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A recent ground-breaking publication described hypothalamus-driven programmatic aging. As a Russian proverb goes "everything new is well-forgotten old". In 1958, Dilman proposed that aging and its related diseases are programmed by the hypothalamus. This theory, supported by beautiful experiments, remained unnoticed just to be re-discovered recently. Yet, it does not explain all manifestations of aging. And would organism age without hypothalamus? Do sensing pathways such as MTOR (mechanistic Target of Rapamycin) and IKK-beta play a role of a "molecular hypothalamus" in every cell? Are hypothalamus-driven alterations simply a part of quasi-programmed aging manifested by hyperfunction and secondary signal-resistance? Here are some answers.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: When the cell cycle becomes arrested, MTOR (mechanistic Target of Rapamycin) converts reversible arrest into senescence (geroconversion). Hyperexpression of cyclin D1 is a universal marker of senescence along with hypertrophy, beta-Gal staining and loss of replicative/regenerative potential (RP), namely, the ability to restart proliferation when the cell cycle is released. Inhibition of MTOR decelerates geroconversion, although only partially decreases cyclin D1. Here we show that in p21- and p16-induced senescence, inhibitors of mitogen-activated/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (MEK) (U0126, PD184352 and siRNA) completely prevented cyclin D1 accumulation, making it undetectable. We also used MEL10 cells in which MEK inhibitors do not inhibit MTOR. In such cells, U0126 by itself induced senescence that was remarkably cyclin D1 negative. In contrast, inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4/6 by PD0332991 caused cyclin D1-positive senescence in MEL10 cells. Both types of senescence were suppressed by rapamycin, converting it into reversible arrest. We confirmed that the inhibitor of CDK4/6 caused cyclin D1 positive senescence in normal RPE cells, whereas U0126 prevented cyclin D1 expression. Elimination of cyclin D1 by siRNA did not prevent other markers of senescence that are consistent with the lack of its effect on MTOR. Our data confirmed that a mere inhibition of the cell cycle was sufficient to cause senescence, providing MTOR was active, and inhibition of MEK partially inhibited MTOR in a cell-type-dependent manner. Second, hallmarks of senescence may be dissociated, and hyperelevated cyclin D1, a marker of hyperactivation of senescent cells, did not necessarily determine other markers of senescence. Third, inhibition of MEK was sufficient to eliminate cyclin D1, regardless of MTOR.Cell Death and Differentiation advance online publication, 12 July 2013; doi:10.1038/cdd.2013.86.
Cell death and differentiation 07/2013; · 8.24 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cellular and organismal aging are driven in part by the MTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin) pathway and rapamycin extends life span inC elegans, Drosophila and mice. Herein, we investigated effects of rapamycin on brain aging in OXYS rats. Previously we found, in OXYS rats, an early development of age-associated pathological phenotypes similar to several geriatric disorders in humans, including cerebral dysfunctions. Behavioral alterations as well as learning and memory deficits develop by 3 months. Here we show that rapamycin treatment (0.1 or 0.5 mg/kg as a food mixture daily from the age of 1.5 to 3.5 months) decreased anxiety and improved locomotor and exploratory behavior in OXYS rats. In untreated OXYS rats, MRI revealed an increase of the area of hippocampus, substantial hydrocephalus and 2-fold increased area of the lateral ventricles. Rapamycin treatment prevented these abnormalities, erasing the difference between OXYS and Wister rats (used as control). All untreated OXYS rats showed signs of neurodegeneration, manifested by loci of demyelination. Rapamycin decreased the percentage of animals with demyelination and the number of loci. Levels of Tau and phospho-Tau (T181) were increased in OXYS rats (compared with Wistar). Rapamycin significantly decreased Tau and inhibited its phosphorylation in the hippocampus of OXYS and Wistar rats. Importantly, rapamycin treatment caused a compensatory increase in levels of S6 and correspondingly levels of phospo-S6 in the frontal cortex, indicating that some downstream events were compensatory preserved, explaining the lack of toxicity. We conclude that rapamycin in low chronic doses can suppress brain aging.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: If life were created by intelligent design, we would indeed age from accumulation of molecular damage. Repair is costly and limited by energetic resources, and we would allocate resources rationally. But, albeit elegant, this design is fictional. Instead, nature blindly selects for short-term benefits of robust developmental growth. "Quasi-programmed" by the blind watchmaker, aging is a wasteful and aimless continuation of developmental growth, driven by nutrient-sensing, growth-promoting signaling pathways such as MTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin). A continuous post-developmental activity of such gerogenic pathways leads to hyperfunctions (aging), loss of homeostasis, age-related diseases, non-random organ damage and death. This model is consistent with a view that (1) soma is disposable, (2) aging and menopause are not programmed and (3) accumulation of random molecular damage is not a cause of aging as we know it.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It has been known for millennia that large animals live longer, inspiring numerous theories of aging. For example, elephants and humans live longer than mice, which in turn live longer than worms and flies. The correlation is not perfect, with many explainable exceptions, but it is still obvious. In contrast, within each species (e.g., mice and some other mammals) small body size is associated with longevity and slow aging. The concept that aging (and age-related diseases) is an aimless continuation of developmental growth, a hyperfunction driven by the same nutrient-sensing and growth-promoting pathways such as MTOR, may explain this longstanding paradox.