Experimental Gerontology

Published by Elsevier
Online ISSN: 0531-5565
Publications
Article
The significantly increased helical content is observed in muscle aldolase molecule of old rabbits. The unfolding and refolding of protein conformation followed by circular dichroism, fluorescence and enzyme activity showed the recovery of initial conformation after the denaturation. The protein folds into the form that existed prior to denaturation--"young" into "young" and "old" into "old"--the conformational differences between them being restored. This suggests that the primary structure modifications prior to the folding of the native protein conformation are the origin of the age-dependent differences of aldolase structure and function.
 
Article
The average lateral diffusion coefficient of proteins (D) in the cell membrane of hepatocytes has been measured in liver smears by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP), based on the so-called peroxide-induced autofluorescence (PIAF) deriving from the oxidation of riboflavin bound to membrane proteins. It has been previously shown that D displays a significant negative linear age correlation. The in vivo effects of two drugs were tested on this parameter. Young (2.7 months) and old (24-26 months) male rats received centrophenoxine (CPH) or a new drug (BCE-001) by either intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection or per os through a gastric tube for 26 to 42 days. D was measured on a double-blind basis in the hepatocyte plasma membrane of treated and control groups. The CPH and BCE-001 treatments did not affect the value of D in the young rats. However, the latter drug increased their growth rate. An increase of D in old animals was induced by treatment with either drug. When the drug effects in old rats were compared, BCE-001 proved to be more efficient than CPH, and at the same time was able to significantly retard the age-dependent loss of body weight characteristic of these animals at the age of approximately 2 years. Our results are in good accord with the predictions of the membrane hypothesis of aging as regards the role of properly placed OH. free radical scavengers in the improvement of membrane and overall cell function.
 
Article
Drosophila continues to be a model system of choice to study the genetics of aging. It has a short lifespan and small genome size, but nevertheless contains a complex organ and endocrine system that allows studying the role of conserved signal transduction pathways with sophisticated genetic tools. Oxidative stress and metabolic changes along with intersecting signaling systems Insulin Receptor (InR), Target of Rapamycin (TOR) and Jun N-terminal Kinase (JNK) have emerged as some of the major players in aging. Sleep and organ-specific aging has also been the subject of recent progress in understanding aging.
 
Article
The effect of 3-(4-pyridyl)-1,2,4-thiotriazolyl 5-mercaptoacetic acid kalium salt (Rumosol) and 3-(4-pyridyl)-1,2,4-thiotriazolyl 5-mercaptoacetic acid morpholinium salt (drug 2) on the concentration of Schiff base in myocardium of adult (10-12 months) and old (22-25 months) Wistar rats during immobilized stress were investigated. Here we show that the accumulation of Schiff base in the heart from both age groups was inhibited after injection of derivatives of 1,2,4-thiotriazolyl 5-mercaptoacetic acid prior to immobilization. Drug 2 possessed a two-fold higher pronounced capacity against Rumosol to inhibit the accumulation of Schiff base in the heart during stress. In myocardium from old rats, drug 2 decreased more effectively the stress-induced stimulation of lipid peroxidation as compared to dimethyl sulfoxide.
 
Article
1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25-(OH)2D3] increases synthesis of heat shock proteins in monocytes and U937 cells and protects these cells from thermal injury. We therefore examined whether 1,25-(OH)2D3 would also modulate the susceptibility to H2O2-induced oxidative stress. Prior incubation for 24 h with 1,25-(OH)2D3 (25 pM or higher) produced unexpected increased H2O2 toxicity. Since cellular Ca2+ may be a mediator of cell injury, we investigated the effects of altering extracellular Ca2+ ([Ca2+]e) on 1,25-(OH)2D3-enhanced H2O2 toxicity, as well as the effects of 1,25-(OH)2D3 and H2O2 on cytosolic-free Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]f). Basal [Ca2+]f in medium containing 1.5 mM Ca2+ as determined by fura-2 fluorescence was higher in 1,25-(OH)2D3-pretreated cells than control cells (137 versus 112 nM, p less than 0.005). H2O2 induced a rapid increase in [Ca2+]f (to greater than 300 nM) in both 1,25-(OH)2D3-treated and control cells, which was prevented by a reduction in [Ca2+]e to less than basal [Ca2+]f. The 1,25-(OH)2D3-induced increase in H2O2 toxicity was also prevented by preincubation with 1,25-(OH)2D3 in Ca2(+)-free medium or by exposing the cells to H2O2 in the presence of EGTA. Preexposure of cells to 45 degrees C for 20 min, 4 h earlier, partially prevented the toxic effects of H2O2 particularly in 1,25-(OH)2D3-treated cells, even in the presence of physiological levels of [Ca2+]e. Thus, 1,25-(OH)2D3 potentiates H2O2-induced injury probably by increasing cellular Ca2+ stores. The protective effects of heat shock are probably exerted at a site distal to the toxic effects of Ca2+. The 1,25-(OH)2D3-induced amplification of the heat shock response likely represents a mechanism for counteracting the Ca2(+)-associated enhanced susceptibility of oxidative injury due to 1,25-(OH)2D3.
 
Article
Several factors involved in regulation of bone mineral metabolism were compared in male and female Fischer 344 rats of different ages (1, 2.5, 6, and 18 months). Plasma 1,25-(OH)2D3 concentrations decreased with age in rats of both genders. Abundance of calbindin-D28K and its mRNA in kidney and calbindin-D9K and its mRNA in duodenum also decreased with age in both male and female rats. Renal 24-hydroxylase activity and 24-hydroxylase mRNA content were elevated significantly in 18-month-old males and females, compared with younger ages. These data suggest that increased renal catabolism of 1,25-(OH)2D3 may be responsible for low plasma 1,25-(OH)2D3 concentrations observed in older animals. Plasma PTH and 1,25-(OH)2D3 concentrations, renal 24-hydroxylase enzyme activity and 24-hydroxylase mRNA content, duodenal 24-hydroxylase mRNA abundance, and duodenal calbindin-D9K and calbindin-D9K mRNA content were greater in males than in females at 2.5 months of age. Lower plasma 1,25-(OH)2D3 concentrations in females seem to explain observed gender differences in expression of 1,25-(OH)2D3-stimulated genes. The combined effects of these gender differences at ages when peak bone density is being developed may contribute to the greater incidence of osteoporosis in females than in males.
 
Article
We have examined the ability of 1,25(OH)2-vitamin D3 [1,25(OH)2D3; calcitriol], the hormonal form of vitamin D3, to stimulate the phosphorylation of proteins in rat duodenum from young (3 months) and aged (22-24 months) rats. Brief (30 s) exposure of duodenum preincubated with 32P-orthophosphate to the hormone increased the labeling of whole tissue proteins, an effect that was greatly diminished in aged animals. The response was dose-dependent, with maximal stimulation achieved at 1 nM calcitriol (+113% and +10% for young and aged rats, respectively). Phosphoproteins were resolved by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and identified by autoradiography. The hormone potentiated the phosphorylation predominantly on serine, threonine, and tyrosine residues of five acidic proteins of relative molecular masses of 66, 48, 45, 28, and 16 kDa. Moreover, the effects of calcitriol were exerted at the membrane level and varied as a function of exposure time. Direct treatment of purified basal lateral membranes for 30 s with the hormone (1 nM) stimulated the incorporation of 32P of a 66 kDa protein by 75% and of a 48 and 45 kDa proteins by 60%. The effects of the hormone on basal lateral membrane protein phosphorylation were suppressed by the PKA, PKC, and tyrosine kinase inhibitors, Rp-cAMPS, bisindolylmaleimide, and genistein, respectively. In basal lateral membrane isolated from old animals, only minor changes in calcitriol-induced protein phosphorylation of the 66-kDa protein were observed. Taken together, these results suggest that calcitriol modulates duodenal membrane protein phosphorylation, at least in part through PKA, PKC, and tyrosine kinases, and that this mechanism is severely altered with ageing. The identity of the proteins whose phosphorylation was stimulated by calcitriol and their physiological role is currently under investigation.
 
Article
Senile osteoporosis is the endpoint of a continuum that starts after the third decade of life when peak bone mass is attained and then is followed by a progressive and irreversible decline in bone mass. One of the mechanisms that could explain this is the increasing levels of adipogenesis in bone marrow seen with increasing age, probably due to alterations in the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC). Senescence accelerated mice (SAM-P/6) constitute an accepted model for senile osteoporosis since their loss of bone mineral density is clearly due to high levels of adipogenesis and a deficit in osteoblastogenesis. It is known that MSC expressing a ligand-activated transcription factor known as peroxisome proliferators-activated receptor gamma 2 (PPARgamma2) are committed to differentiate into adipocytes. The regulation of PPARgamma2 activation may play a role in the control of adipogenic differentiation of MSC and thus contribute to their differentiation into osteoblasts in order to form new bone. Our previous studies have shown that the active form of vitamin D (1,25(OH)(2)D(3)) plays a role as a bone forming agent because it induces osteoblastogenesis and inhibits adipogenesis in bone marrow of SAM-P/6 mice. To elucidate the role of 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) on the expression of PPARgamma2 we treated 4-month old SAM-P/6 mice with 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) (18pmol/24 h) or vehicle during 6 weeks. Initially we found that with aging the levels of PPARgamma2 expression increase in bone marrow of SAM-P/6 (P<0.001) We then measured the changes in the expression of PPARgamma2 by semi-quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and immunofluorescence. We found a significant reduction of PPARgamma2-expressing cells in 1,25(OH)(2)D(3)-treated (32% +/-6) as compared to vehicle (76% +/-5) treated mice (p<0.01) In summary, this study shows that the administration of 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) in an in vivo model of senile osteoporosis is associated with reduction in PPARgamma2 a key transcription factor for the adipose differentiation of MSC.
 
Article
Overproduction of reactive oxygen species in aging tissues has been implicated in the pathogenesis of aging-associated cardiovascular dysfunction. Oxidant-induced DNA-damage activates the poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) pathway, leading to tissue injury. In this study we investigated the acute effects of the PARP inhibitor INO-1001 on aging-associated cardiac and endothelial dysfunction. Using a pressure-volume conductance catheter, left ventricular pressure-volume analysis of young and aging rats was performed before and after a single injection of INO-1001. Endothelium-dependent and -independent vasorelaxation of isolated aortic rings were investigated by using acetylcholine and sodium nitroprusside. Aging animals showed a marked reduction of myocardial contractility and endothelium-dependent relaxant responsiveness of aortic rings. Single dose INO-1001-treatment resulted in acute improvement in their cardiac and endothelial function. Immunohistochemistry for nitrotyrosine and poly(ADP-ribose) confirmed enhanced nitro-oxidative stress and PARP-activation in aging animals. Acute treatment with INO-1001 decreased PARP-activation, but did not affect nitrotyrosine-immunoreactivity. Our results demonstrate that the aging-associated chronic cardiovascular dysfunction can be improved, at least, short term, by a single treatment course with a PARP-inhibitor, supporting the role of the nitro-oxidative stress -- PARP -- pathway in the age-related functional decline of the cardiovascular system. Pharmacological inhibition of PARP may represent a novel therapeutic utility to improve aging-associated cardiovascular dysfunction.
 
Article
Using data from Germany, we examine if month of birth influences survival up to age 105. Since age reporting at the highest ages is notoriously unreliable we draw on age-validated information from a huge age validation project of 1487 alleged German semi-supercentenarians aged 105+. We use month of birth as an exogenous indicator for seasonal changes in the environment around the time of birth. We find that the seasonal distribution of birth dates changes with age. For 925 age-validated semi-supercentenarians the seasonality is more pronounced than at the time of their birth (1880-1900). Among the December-born the relative risk of survival from birth to age 105+is 16% higher than the average, among the June-born, 23% lower. The month-of-birth pattern in the survival risk of the German semi-supercentenarians resembles closely the month-of-birth pattern in remaining life expectancy at age 50 in Denmark.
 
Article
Age is associated with an enhanced low density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation and atherosclerosis, thus, subjects over 80 years without cardiovascular disease provide a model to investigate the protective factors against atherosclerosis. Serum paraoxonase (PON1), an high density lipoprotein (HDL)-bound enzyme, prevents LDL oxidation. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the contribution of the PON1 promoter T(-107)C and coding region Gln192Arg (Q192R) and Leu55Met (L55M) polymorphisms to the resistance to develop cardiovascular events in Sicilian healthy octogenarians. Distribution of PON1 genotypes and activity, and biochemical parameters, were compared between 100 octogenarians and 200 adults. Individuals in the elderly group displayed significant higher levels of HDL-C (P < 0.001) and PON1 activity (P < 0.001). The analysis of PON1 genotypes distribution showed an higher percentage of (-107)CC among octogenarians compared with controls. A significant difference among T(-107)C genotypes respect to PON1 activity and HDL-C levels occurred in both groups. The CC genotype was associated with higher PON1 activity and HDL levels compared to the TT genotypes. In conclusion, our results provide a strong evidence that in healthy Sicilians ageing may be characterized by a low frequency of PON1 (-107)T 'risk' allele and by an high frequency of favourable genotypes such as (-107)CC, influencing PON1 activity and HDL-C levels.
 
Article
Whereas molecular imaging studies in the aging human brain have predominantly demonstrated reductions in serotonin transporter (5-HTT) availability, the majority of the rodent studies, using autoradiographic methods, report increases in neural 5-HTT levels with age. To our knowledge, however, no previous rodent studies have assessed this topic in vivo, and therefore it remains unclear whether this discrepancy arises from methodological or inter-species differences. We performed an [(11)C]-DASB microPET study to evaluate the effects of aging on 5-HTT availability in the rat brain. To generate binding potential estimates, quantitative tracer kinetic modeling was applied using the simplified reference tissue model. A global increase in whole-brain [(11)C]-DASB binding potential was observed in the aged rats in comparison to the control group. More specifically, regional analyses revealed a highly significant increase in 5-HTT binding in the medial frontal cortex, and more modest increments in the midbrain/thalamus. Our results suggest that the frontal cortex represents a site of robust age-related alterations in the rat serotonergic system, and stress the need for further research assessing this topic in the human frontal cortex. Moreover, these findings suggest that the reported discrepancies between rodent and human data may reflect a divergence in the aging processes affecting human and rat serotonergic terminals.
 
Article
Reliable discriminatory tests to predict metastatic disease would clearly facilitate the management of cancer in the elderly. We have recently identified a 90-110-kilodalton (kDa) cell surface glycoprotein that is differentially expressed in benign and malignant murine adrenal carcinoma cells. In view of the proteins highly glycosylated nature, we have tested its ability to bind to a panel of agarose-bound lectins. Wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), a lectin specific for terminal sialic acid and N-acetylglucosamine (G1cNAc), had a strong affinity for the metastasis-related protein but failed to detect such a glycoprotein in nonmetastatic cells. Treatment of cells with sialidase to remove terminal sialic acids did not affect the affinity of the protein for the lectin, indicating the presence of terminal G1cNAc. We show by in situ that this metastatic binding protein (MBP) is regionally concentrated on the surface of invasive cells but absent in cells unable to invade. We postulate that MBP plays an active role in cell migration through interactions with beta-1,4 galactosytransferase and basement membrane glycoproteines.
 
Article
Werner syndrome (WS) is a recessive disorder characterized by the premature onset of a number of age-related diseases. The objective of the present study was to examine the degree of associations between non-synonymous coding Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in the WRN gene and markers of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension using meta-analyses publically available and to test their effect in WS fibroblasts. The P-value, after genomic control correction, for each non-synonymous coding SNP present in the WRN gene were retrieved from the International Consortium for Blood Pressure Genome-Wide Association Study, the Genome Wide Associations Scans for Total Cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, and the Meta-Analyses of Glucose and Insulin-related traits Consortium. For SNPs significantly associated with cholesterol traits, we generated expression vectors containing the amino acid changes and measured cholesterol uptake and efflux in transfected WS fibroblasts. One SNP (rs2230009) changing a valine for an isoleucine at position 114 of the WRN protein was nominally associated with cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol measurements (P-values<0.05). Interestingly, a WRN cDNA expression vector bearing a valine at position 114 instead of isoleucine significantly affected cholesterol efflux in WS fibroblasts. These results implicate a functional effect of this WRN polymorphism on cholesterol metabolism.
 
Article
Neuroblastoma cells (N1E-115) were used as models of transient (T) and long-lasting (L) Ca++ channels. The whole cell version of the patch clamp technique was used to measure inward Ca++ currents, and the fluorescent indicator, Fura-2, was used to measure changes in intracellular Ca++. Cells were cultured and selected during recording so that predominantly T or L channel currents were measured. T channel currents did not respond to dihydropyridine or parathyroid hormone, whereas L channel currents did. BAY-K-8644 increased and nifedipine decreased L channel currents. After a 15 mM KCl challenge, cells with predominantly T channels responded with a transient change in intracellular Ca++, while cells with predominantly L channels showed a sustained response. PTH inhibited the increase in intracellular Ca++ in cells with L channels, but not in those with T channels. PTH may be an example of an endogenous calcium channel blocker, at least in neuroblastoma cells.
 
Article
Age-related changes in the mouse heart after ischemia-reperfusion have not been well characterized. To test the hypothesis that advanced age was associated with increased susceptibility to myocardial injury after ischemia/reperfusion, we studied the hearts of young adult and old mice. In young adult (6-8 months) and aged (22-24 months) C57 BL/6 mice, we performed left anterior descending coronary artery ligation and subjected the hearts to 45 min of ischemia followed by varying periods of reperfusion of 15 min, 1 h, 4 h, and 24 h. We found that there was a significant age difference in the size of the infarct between the young adult and old hearts. There was also greater damage in the old hearts in terms of contraction band necrosis, myofiber tears, DNA fragmentation, and mitochondrial disruption. Thus, the old heart is more susceptible to injury after ischemia-reperfusion. This may be partly due to an age-associated decrease in coronary circulation and collateral flow, as well as other factors.
 
Article
By studies in centenarians, it was recently found that an STR marker of the Tyrosine Hydroxylase (TH, 11p15.5) gene is associated with human longevity. The aim of the present study was to continue the exploration of the 11p15.5 chromosomal region in human longevity by analyzing two additional RFLP markers, which lie in the Insulin (INS) and Insulin Growth Factor 2 (IGF2) genes. Both the genes, which are localized downstream TH, are indeed good candidates in longevity, as ascertained on the basis of laboratory studies in experimental models. Neither INS nor IGF2 markers did reveal association with longevity. Nevertheless, linkage disequilibrium analyses showed sex-specific longevity associations defined by both TH-INS and TH-IGF2 haplotypes. On the whole, the results reinforce the involvement of the chromosomal region spanning from TH to IGF2 loci in controlling the longevity phenotype in humans.
 
Article
The effect of age on brain muscarinic receptor density is unclear. Some in vivo neuroimaging studies have reported a large age-related reduction in muscarinic receptor density; however, others have reported increases or no change. The variability in these results most likely arises because of the heterogeneity of the populations studied, differences in quantification methods employed, and a paucity of subtype selective ligands. Thus, we used the m(1)/m(4) selective probe (R,R)[(123)I]-I-QNB to investigate age-related differences in brain muscarinic receptors in healthy females. We included 10 younger subjects (age range 26-37) and 22 older women (age range 57-82 years). The older women had significantly lower (R,R)[(123)I]-I-QNB binding in widespread brain regions including cerebral cortex and hippocampus. Across all subjects, regional binding was significantly negatively correlated with age. Thus, in this population of healthy women, there was an age-related reduction in muscarinic receptor density. This may contribute to age-related differences in cognitive function and risk for Alzheimer's disease.
 
Article
Metallothionein (MT) family proteins are small molecular weight and cysteine-rich proteins that regulate zinc homeostasis and have potential protective effects against oxidative stress and toxic metals. To investigate whether MTs play a role in longevity determination in mammals, we measured the lifespans of wild-type (WT) and MT-1 and -2 gene knockout (MTKO) mice in a 129/Sv genetic background. MTKO mice of both sexes had shorter lifespans than WT mice. In particular, male MTKO mice living beyond the mean lifespan exhibited signs of weight loss, hunchbacked spines, lackluster fur and an absence of vigor. These results suggest that lifespan is shortened due to accelerated senescence in the absence of MT genes. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
 
Article
Injured skeletal muscle generally regenerates less efficiently with age, but little is understood about the effects of ageing on the very early inflammatory and neovascular events in the muscle repair process. This study used a total of 174 whole muscle grafts transplanted within and between young and old mice to analyse the effects of ageing on the early inflammatory response in two strains of mice (BALB/c and SJL/J). There was a very slight delay in the early inflammatory response, and in the appearance of myotubes at day 4 in BALB/c muscle grafted into an old host environment (implicating systemic events). In SJL/J mice, the initial speed of the inflammatory response was slightly delayed with old muscle grafts regardless of host age (implicating muscle-derived factors), while an old host environment transiently affected myogenesis (myotube formation). The slight delays in inflammatory and neovascular responses in old mice did not dramatically impact on the overall formation of new muscle. The neovascular response to injured young and old muscle tissue was further analysed using the corneal micropocket assay. This showed a very clear 1-2 day delay in angiogenesis induced by old versus young BALB/c muscle tissue implanted into the young rat cornea, indicating that new blood vessel formation is at least partly determined by muscle-derived factors. Taken together these results indicate that, while there are slight age-associated delays in inflammation and neovascularisation in response to injured muscle, there is no detrimental effect on myogenesis in the mouse model used in this study.
 
Article
The retardation of aging and diseases by caloric restriction (CR) is a widely-studied and robust phenomenon. Recent publications describe transgenic and other mutant rodents displaying lifespan extension, and the rapid pace at which these animals are being generated raises the possibility that the importance of the CR paradigm is declining. Here we discuss these models and evaluate the evidence whether or not the aging process is retarded based on longevity, disease patterns and age-associated biological changes. A comparison to rodents on CR is made. Because CR has been investigated for approximately 70 years with increasing intensity, there exists extensive data to document aging retardation. In contrast, for nearly all of the genetically abnormal models of lifespan extension, such data are minimal and often unconvincing; additional studies will be required to validate these strains as suitable models for aging research.
 
Article
Caenorhabditis elegans life span, stress resistance and metabolism are regulated by the Insulin/IGF-1/DAF-2/DAF-16 pathway. DAF-16, a member of FOXO/Forkhead transcription factor family, can be targeted by 14-3-3 proteins to promote stress resistance. We have identified a 14-3-3 C. elegans homolog which promotes life span by both DAF-2-dependent and -independent mechanisms and by an unexpected DAF-16-independent mechanism. Our results demonstrate that C. elegans 14-3-3 proteins modulate stress-responsive genes throughout adulthood. In conclusion, 14-3-3 can be considered as an acute stress-responsive regulator as well as a sustained modulator of the Insulin/IGF-1/DAF-2/DAF-16 regulatory pathway in promoting life expectancy of growing old worms.
 
Temperature profiles showing the variation in body temperature among six classical inbred strains (12956, C57BL/6, C3H, DBA, BALB/c, and A; all IBG substrains, except 12956) eating 60% ad libitum. T b s were measured every 4 h for 9.5 days. The numbers on the bottom axis indicate when the mice were fed (approximately 4:30 pm each day). For each strain, the profiles of two DR mice are shown (one for BALB/c) along with the mean profile of two AL mice (three for 129). The mean T b s calculated from each profile are indicated in the heading for each strain, with the AL mean T b shown first, then the mean from the 
Article
Although best known for his studies on the anti-aging effects of dietary restriction, Dr Roy Walford began his career by studying the anti-aging effects of lowering body temperature. As a tribute to his long and productive career, we review these pioneering studies and the singular influence these have had on our own thinking about the potential for lower body temperature to extend the life span of homeotherms. We show our results from a study of six classical inbred strains of mice that depict marked strain variation in the body temperature response to dietary restriction. In addition, we show a genome scan from a recombinant inbred strain panel in which we identified a significant quantitative trait locus on murine chromosome 9 and a provisional locus on chromosome 17 that specify variation in the response of body temperature to dietary restriction. These discoveries suggest that we can now extend the studies of Dr Walford to critically test whether lower body temperature can prolong the life span of mammals.
 
Article
Mitochondria are intimately involved in the aging process. The decline of autophagic clearance during aging affects the equilibrium between mitochondrial fusion and fission, leading to a build-up of dysfunctional mitochondria, oxidative stress, chronic low-grade inflammation, and increased apoptosis rates, the main hallmarks of aging. Current research suggests that a large number of microRNAs (miRs or miRNAs) are differentially expressed during cell aging. Other lines of evidence indicate that several miRs likely share in "inflamm-aging", an aging-related state characterized by systemic chronic inflammation that in turn provides a biological background favoring susceptibility to age-related diseases and disabilities. Interestingly, miRs can modulate mitochondrial activity, and a discrete miR set has recently been identified in mitochondria of different species and cell types (mitomiRs). Here we show that some mitomiRs (let7b, mir-146a, -133b, -106a, -19b, -20a, -34a, -181a and -221) are also among the miRs primarily involved in cell aging and in inflamm-aging. Of note, Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) of aging-related mitomiR targets has disclosed a number of resident mitochondrial proteins playing large roles in energy metabolism, mitochondrial transport and apoptosis. Among these, Bcl-2 family members - which are critically involved in maintaining mitochondrial integrity - may play a role in controlling mitochondrial function and dysfunction during cellular aging, also considering that Bcl-2, the master member of the family, is an anti-oxidant and anti-apoptotic factor and regulates mitochondrial fission/fusion and autophagy. This intriguing hypothesis is supported by several observations: i) in endothelial cells undergoing replicative senescence (HUVECs), a well-established model of cell senescence, miR-146a, miR-34a, and miR-181a are over-expressed whereas their target Bcl-2 is down-regulated; ii) IPA of the miR-146a, miR-34a and miR-181a network shows that they are closely linked to each other, to Bcl-2 and to mitochondria; and iii) miR-146a, miR-34a, and miR-181a are involved in important cell functions (growth, proliferation, death, survival, maintenance) and age-related diseases (cancer, skeletal and muscle disorders, neurological, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases). In conclusion several aging-related mitomiRs may play a direct role in controlling mitochondrial function by regulating mitochondrial protein expression. Their modulation could thus mediate the loss of mitochondrial integrity and function in aging cells, inducing or contributing to the inflammatory response and to age-related diseases.
 
Article
The rate of poly-U translation and polyphenylalanine formation by liver cell free systems including 14C-Phe-tRNA, poly-U, GTP, 3· mm MG4+ in the presence of 0·5 m KCl washed 40S and 60S ribosomal subunits (1 : 2) and Sephadex G-25 treated supernatant factors (S-100 fraction) has been investigated in young adult (6 month), middle-aged (13–14 month) and old (24–26 month) male Wistar rats.When homologous cell free systems are tested those made by subunits and S-100 fraction from middle-aged rats appear to synthesize more polyphenylalanine than systems of young-adult and old rats. Old rat systems, however, appear to synthesize more polyphenylalanine than young-adult ones.When heterologous young-adult: old subunit: S-100 systems are tested the synthesis of polyphenylalanine is impaired. It is restored to normal by employing the S-100 fraction of middle-aged rats.These observations suggest the presence of modified initiation and/or elongation factor activities in the liver cell sap fractions of young-adult and old normal rats. These modifications could be the expression of a general regulatory mechanism of protein biosynthesis at these age periods. The possibility of ribosomal alterations in the conditions studied appears to be ruled out.
 
Article
The in-vitro incorporation of 14C-leucine into liver microsomal protein from 14C-leu-tRNA has been studied in 3-6 and 22-24-month-old rats using a cell free system with lysosome-free microsomes (rough E.R.), limiting transfer factor and GTP concentrations and an energy generating system. The amino acid incorporating ability by old microsomes slightly decreases when they are incubated with their "homologous" cell sap transfer factors. A more marked decrease occurs when they are incubated with the "heterologous" young cell sap factors. Young microsomes also show a decrease in their incorporating ability when they are incubated with the old cell sap. The polyamines spermine and spermidine reverse these inhibitions. Spermine acts with the old microsomal preparations and spermidine, on the contrary, with the young ones. Spermine when used with young microsomes and spermidine with the old preparations are both inhibitory. Same 14C-leucine accepting abilities are shown by tRNA preparations from young-adult as well senescent animals.
 
Article
Uptake from plasma and incorporation into plasma proteins of a pulse-dose of [14C]-valine were studied in 8-month and 9-yr old ewes fed corn-soy diets containing 9.6 and 19.9% crude protein in trials 1 and 2 respectively. Diets were fed at maintenance levels to 7 ewes of each age in each trial. In trial 1, total body plasma pool radioactivity of whole and deproteinized plasma decreased 68.6 and 98.9% in young ewes and 67.6 and 98.9% in old ewes over a 12 h period. In trial 2, decreases in radioactivity of these same pools were 55.1 and 98.6% for young ewes and 58.8 and 98.9% for old ewes. Total plasma protein (TPP) and globulin (G) concentrations were higher in old animals in both trials while albumin (A) concentrations were comparable. In trial 1, changes in radioactivity of A and G pools from 2 to 12 h after dosing were 19.4% decrease and 41.3% increase for young ewes and 11.0 and 33.6% increase for old ewes. In trial 2, A radioactivity decreased 25.8% and G increased 40.1% for old ewes. Old ewes tended to have greater radioactivity than young ewes in teh G fraction in both trials. Old ewes consistently had a larger percent of TPP radioactivity in the G and a lower percent in the A fraction in trial 2. It was concluded that higher dietary protein intake resulted in increase incorporation or radioactivity into plasma proteins, and that animal age seemed to affect plasma protein concentrations and likely rate of incorporation of radioactivity into plasma proteins.
 
Article
Aspirin has been revealed to have many beneficial effects for health since it was discovered as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs) to treat pain and inflammation. Here, we investigated the molecular mechanism of aspirin on lifespan extension of C. elegans. Our results showed that aspirin could extend the lifespan of C. elegans, increase its health span and stress resistance. The extension of lifespan by aspirin requires DAF-16/FOXO, AMPK, and LKB1, but not SIR-2.1. Aspirin could not extend the lifespan of mutants of eat-2, clk-1, and isp-1. Aspirin could marginally extend the lifespan of long-live insulin-like receptor mutant daf-2(e1370) III. Taken together, aspirin might act through a dietary restriction-like mechanism, via increasing the AMP:ATP ratio and activating LKB1, subsequently activating AMPK, which stimulate DAF-16 to induce downstream effects through DAF-16 translocation independent manner.
 
Article
The Forkhead Box O transcription factor DAF-16 regulates genes affecting dauer larva formation and adult life span. Expression profiling and genome-wide searches for DAF-16 binding sites in gene regulatory regions have identified thousands of potential DAF-16 targets. Some of these genes have been shown to alter longevity when their expression is attenuated by RNAi treatment. DAF-16 also associates with other transcription factors, allowing combinatorial modulation of gene expression. Although extensive descriptions of the gene network regulated by DAF-16 have been attempted, there remain many gaps in the understanding of how DAF-16 regulates dauer formation and longevity.
 
Article
In Caenorhabditis elegans, the insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway controls many biological processes such as life span, fat storage, dauer diapause, reproduction and stress response . This pathway is comprised of many genes including the insulin/IGF-1 receptor (DAF-2) that signals through a conserved PI 3-kinase/AKT pathway and ultimately down-regulates DAF-16, a forkhead transcription factor (FOXO). DAF-16 also receives input from several other pathways that regulate life span such as the germline and the JNK pathway [Hsin, H., Kenyon, C., 1999. Signals from the reproductive system regulate the lifespan of C. elegans. Nature 399, 362-366; Oh, S.W., Mukhopadhyay, A., Svrzikapa, N., Jiang, F., Davis, R.J., Tissenbaum, H.A., 2005. JNK regulates lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans by modulating nuclear translocation of forkhead transcription factor/DAF-16. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 102, 4494-4499]. Therefore, DAF-16 integrates signals from multiple pathways and regulates its downstream target genes to control diverse processes. Here, we discuss the signals to and from DAF-16, with a focus on life span regulation.
 
Article
The insulin/IGF-1 receptor (IIR)/FOXO pathway is remarkably conserved in worms, flies, and mammals, and downregulation of signaling in this pathway has been shown to extend lifespan in all of these animals. FOXO-mediated transcription is required for the long lifespan of IIR mutants; thus, there is great interest in identifying FOXO target genes, as they may carry out the biochemical activities that extend longevity. A number of approaches have been used to identify the transcriptional targets of FOXO. Thus far, the best data available on the components downstream of this pathway are from experiments involving the Caenorhabditis elegans FOXO transcription factor, DAF-16; some of these targets have been tested for their contributions to longevity, dauer formation, and fat storage. Here, I examine and compare the approaches used to identify DAF-16/FOXO targets, review the genes regulated by DAF-16, and discuss the processes that may be at work to extend lifespan in IIR mutants. Rather than upregulating every possible beneficial gene, DAF-16 appears to selectively upregulate genes that contribute to specific protective mechanisms, while simultaneously downregulating potentially deleterious genes. In addition to genes that carry out expected roles in stress protection, many previously unknown targets have been identified in these studies, suggesting that some mechanisms of lifespan extension still await discovery. These mechanisms may act cooperatively or cumulatively to increase longevity, and are likely to be at least partially conserved in higher organisms.
 
Article
Telomeres are the repetitive DNA sequences and specialized proteins that form the distinctive structure that caps the ends of linear chromosomes. Telomeres allow cells to distinguish the chromosome ends from double strand DNA breaks. The telomeric structure prevents the degradation or fusion of chromosome ends, and thus is essential for maintaining the integrity and stability of eukaryotic genomes. In addition, and perhaps less widely appreciated, telomeres may also indirectly influence gene expression. The length, structure and organization of telomeres are regulated by a host of telomere-associated proteins, and can be influenced by basic cellular processes such as cell proliferation, differentiation, and DNA damage. In mammalian cells, telomere length and/or telomere structure have been linked to both cancer and aging. Here, we briefly review what is known about mammalian telomeres and the proteins that associate with them, and discuss the cellular and organismal consequences of telomere dysfunction and the evidence that cells with dysfunctional telomeres can contribute to cancer and aging phenotypes.
 
Article
During aging, the decline of neuroendocrine, endocrine, and behavioral components of reproduction ultimately leads to reproductive failure. These studies considered both neuroendocrine and behavioral aspects of reproductive aging in Japanese quail, using chronological age and reproductive status to separate animals into experimental groups. In Study I, age-related changes in the gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH-I) system were investigated and a sharp decrease was observed in GnRH-I concentration in the median eminence of aging animals of both sexes, whereas preoptic-lateral septal region GnRH-I concentrations declined only in aging males. Immunohistochemistry confirmed these findings since aging females retained, whereas males lost GnRH-I cells. Functional changes were assessed by in vitro incubation of parasaggittal hypothalamic slices collected from young and old inactive males and females. Results showed reduced baseline GnRH-I release and diminished response to norepinephrine (NE). Deteriorating fertility also correlated with decreased male sexual behavior and loss of aromatase immunoreactive (AROM-ir) neurons in the medial, but not lateral preoptic nucleus (POA). Sexual behavior and AROM-ir were restored with exogenous testosterone, which was associated with increased cell size in the medial POA. Comparison of cell size and number of AROM-ir cells showed that aged sexually active males had fewer, larger AROM-ir cells when compared to young males, suggesting neuroplasticity of specific neural systems and a critical role of estradiol in maintaining reproductive function.
 
Article
Objective: To test whether female gonadal hormone status and estrogen modulate the metabolism of Abeta peptides in vivo. Background: AD is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by accumulation of aggregated forms of the 40- and 42-amino acid Abeta peptides (Abeta40 and Abeta42). Estrogen replacement therapy in postmenopausal women is associated with decreased risk for AD or delay in disease onset or both. The mechanism by which estrogen exerts this neuroprotective effect is elusive. 17beta-estradiol (E2) was shown to reduce the release of Abeta peptides by primary neuronal cultures of murine and human origin. Methods: For this purpose, four experimental sets of guinea pigs were used: intact animals, ovariectomized animals (ovx), and ovariectomized animals that received E2 at two different doses (ovx+low-dose E2 and ovx+high-dose E2). Brain Abeta40 and Abeta42 levels were assessed using Abeta40 and Abeta42-specific ELISA assays. Results: Prolonged ovariectomy resulted in uterine atrophy and decreased serum E2 levels and was associated with a pronounced increase in brain Abeta levels. Total brain Abeta in the ovx animals was increased by 1. 5-fold on average as compared to intact controls. E2 treatment of ovariectomized animals led to uterine hypertrophy and a dose-dependent increase in serum E2 levels. In addition, both doses of E2 significantly reversed the ovariectomy-induced increase in brain Abeta levels. The high-dose E2 treatment did not lead to a further decrease in brain Abeta beyond that observed with the low-dose E2 treatment. Conclusions: Our results infer that cessation of ovarian estrogen production in postmenopausal women might facilitate Abeta deposition by increasing the local concentrations of Abeta40 and Abeta42 peptides in brain. In addition, our finding that E2 treatment is associated with diminution of brain Abeta levels suggests that modulation of Abeta metabolism may be one of the ways by which estrogen replacement therapy prevents or delays the onset of AD or both in postmenopausal women.
 
Article
One of the predictions derived from Williams' (1957) evolutionary theory of senescence is the existence of a trade-off between early fecundity and longevity. The population register of the French immigrants to Québec in the 17th century and of the first Canadians in the 17th and 18th centuries was used to detect such a trade-off in a noncontraceptive human population living at a time when longevity had not been prolonged by medical care and was not artificially shortened by wars, epidemics, or other external causes. No evidence for such a trade-off could be detected in these populations which had not yet reached the demographic transition phase (i.e., the historical period when longevity began to be extended and the progeny began to be reduced). Results are discussed in connection with the various studies aiming to test the Williams' theory.
 
Article
By means of gas-chromatographic analysis the behaviour has been studied of pregnandiol, etiocholanolone, androsterone, dehydroepiandrosterone and of urinary 17-ketosteroids in young and aged males, after stimulus with ACTH, adrenal inhibition obtained by desametazone + stimulus with chorionic gonadotrophins. After ACTH, total urinary 17-ketosteroids increased in aged persons in a lower amount as compared to young ones. On the contrary, dehydroepiandrosterone did not increase in aged subjects after stimulus with ACTH. The inhibition of the adrenal gland obtained by desametazone has given equal responses in the two groups. After gonadotrophine stimulus, total urinary 17-ketosteroids increased in a lower amount in aged subjects as compared to controls.
 
Article
The C allele at position -174 in the promoter of the interleukin 6 (IL-6) gene has been associated with reduced gene expression and reduced plasma levels of IL-6. Given that IL-6 tracks with functional disability and age-related diseases, there may be attrition or reduction in the frequency of the homozygous subjects, who produce higher IL-6 serum levels, in older survivors in a population. In fact, a marked reduction of the IL-6*G/*G genotype was recently demonstrated in male though not female Italian centenarians compared with younger age groups. First aim of the present study was to investigate whether there was evidence of an association among IL-6 -174 G/C promoter polymorphism and extreme longevity in a population of 81 centenarians compared with a control group of 122 middle-aged healthy subjects (mean age: 51+/-18 SD; range: 19-73 years), from Apulia (Southern Italy). Secondly, we also tested possible interaction of apolipoprotein E (APOE) alleles with the IL-6 -174 G/C promoter polymorphism in view of our recent findings for reduced APOE epsilon4 allele in centenarians. No differences have been found in the IL-6 -174 G/C promoter allele and genotype frequencies between centenarians and controls nor was there any observed interaction with APOE alleles that are also reputed to be linked to longevity. Regional genetic differences in conjunction with differing environmental factors may explain in part previous results suggesting a role of this polymorphism in longevity.
 
Article
The interleukin 6 (IL-6) gene in humans is located in the short arm of chromosome 7 and has a-174 G/C polymorphism in its promoter region. The C allele at position-174 in the promoter of the interleukin 6 (IL-6) gene has been associated with reduced gene expression and reduced plasma levels of IL-6. Given the supposed role of several inflammatory mediators in neurodegeneration and Alzheimer's disease (AD), the IL-6-174 G/C promoter polymorphism has been associated with AD with contrasting findings. First aim of the present study was to investigate whether there was evidence in Southern Italy of an association between the IL-6-174 G/C promoter polymorphism and AD. Secondly, we also tested a possible effect of geographic genetic variations on existing reported associations comparing our results with the findings from published studies on other European populations. We examined apolipoprotein E (APOE) and IL-6-174 G/C promoter polymorphisms in a cohort of 168 sporadic AD patients and 220 sex- and age-matched nondemented controls from Southern Italy. No differences have been found in the IL-6-174 G/C promoter allele and genotype frequencies between AD patients and controls nor in early- and late-onset subsets of AD patients. No statistically significant differences in frequencies between IL-6-174 G/C promoter alleles and AD among APOE allele strata were found. Finally, comparing our results with the findings from other European populations, the IL-6*G/*G genotype frequency showed a statistically significant increasing trend from Northern to Southern regions of Europe in AD patients and controls, with a concomitant increase in IL-6*C/*G genotype frequency. Furthermore, an increasing geographical trend from North to South was found for the IL-6*G allele, with a concomitant inverse trend for IL-6*C allele. We suggest that regional European differences in genotype and allele frequencies of the IL-6-174 G/C promoter polymorphism may explain in part controversial findings on this polymorphism in AD in various European studies.
 
Article
Pro-inflammatory cytokine response and NK activity are controlled by the availability of zinc ion, whose intra-cellular transport is regulated by metallothioneins. In order to closely examine the importance of circulating zinc in the modulation of immune response during ageing, in the balance of Th2/Th1 equilibrium and finally in the reversibility of systemic low grade inflammation, we evaluated the changes occurring in plasma IL-6 and MCP-1 concentrations and NK lytic activity in a healthy low grade inflamed elderly population, following zinc-aspartate supplementation. In addition, we aimed to highlight the potential interaction among circulating zinc increments, changes in immunological parameters and +647 MT1a and -174 IL-6 polymorphic alleles. Thirty-nine healthy individuals (60-83 years) from the ZINCAGE cohort (previously typed for +647 MT1a and -174 IL-6 polymorphisms) were supplied with zinc-aspartate. Blood samples collected before and after supplementation underwent basal laboratory determinations (circulating zinc, albumin and C-reactive protein) and immunological studies (plasma IL-6 and MCP-1 and NK lytic activity). Zinc supplementation in subjects with low or borderline-normal circulating zinc increased the concentration of this ion and modulated plasmatic IL-6 and MCP-1 as well as NK lytic activity. An interactive effect of polymorphic alleles of MT1a and IL-6 genes on zinc, IL-6, MCP-1 and NK activity was evidenced following supplementation, indicating the genetic background as one of the determinants for identifying groups of subjects that can take advantage of therapeutic intervention.
 
Article
The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between the -174 G/C polymorphism of interleukin-6 (IL-6) gene promoter and multi-infarct dementia (MID). We studied a group of 122 patients affected by MID and 134 age- and sex-matched controls and evaluated classical risk factors for MID, as well as the distribution of IL-6 alleles and genotypes by polymerase chain reaction and restriction enzyme analysis. The distribution of IL-6 genotypes was 63 GG, 47 GC, 12 CC in patients with MID and 29 GG, 58 GC, 47 CC in control subjects. The GG genotype was significantly more common in the MID group (P<0.0001), while the CC genotype was more common in control patients (P<0.0001). Logistic regression analysis indicated that the presence of GG genotype significantly increases the risk of MID (odds ratio 9.1 [3.1-26.1], P<0.0001). This study indicates a strong association between the -174 G/C polymorphism of the IL-6 gene and MID. Our data support the hypothesis that IL-6 and inflammatory mechanisms are important in the pathophysiology of the vascular changes responsible for cognitive deterioration.
 
Article
IL-6 in vitro production, as well as the serum/plasma concentration of the cytokine, increase with age. In the present investigation, a total of 62 individuals (31 males and 31 females), aged from 29 to 93 years of age (mean age of males: 60.4 years; mean age of females: 59.4 years) were assessed for IL-6 plasma concentration, and for IL-6 in vitro production, using supernatants of 4h cultured adherent peripheral blood mononuclear cells (aPBMC). The subjects were examined for a C to G transition at nucleotide -174 of the IL-6 gene promoter (-174 C/G locus), and were classified as C allele carriers (C+) or non-carriers (C-). We found that: (i) aPBMC from C+ individuals produced smaller amounts of IL-6 in vitro than C- individuals; (ii) IL-6 production by aPBMC increased with age in C+ but not in C- subjects; (iii) there was no correlation between IL-6 plasma levels and in vitro IL-6 production by aPBMC; (iv) IL-6 C+ individuals had lower plasma levels than C- individuals, and this phenomenon was significant only in men. On the whole our data indicate that the production of IL-6 is genetically controlled and age- and gender-dependent.
 
Article
The rate of aging is regulated by hormones in insects and, most likely, in mammals. Mutations of the insulin-signaling pathway extend lifespan in the fruit fly and influence the level of other hormones, specifically juvenile hormone and the sterol ecdysone, each of which may directly influence senescence. With new genetic and genomic tools in Drosophila biology we are now exploring how the neuroendocrine system responds to environmental conditions to modify insulin action, how these signals control secondary hormones, and how these messages together modulate animal aging.
 
Article
Decreased zinc ion availability in ageing is associated with altered immune response. One of the main regulators of zinc availability is metallothionein. Metallothionein induction is under the control of interleukin-6, a pro-inflammatory cytokine whose production is associated with poor ageing. The production of interleukin-6 is controlled, in part, by variability in the -174 nucleotide position. Under conditions of chronic inflammation, such as in ageing, zinc release by metallothionein is limited and may reduce zinc availability. Understanding the precise nature of the interactions between interleukin-6 and metallothioneins will aid in identifying individuals who are at risk of zinc deficiency. In the current study, we used gene arrays to investigate the effects of in vitro zinc supplementation on gene expression in elderly donors with described interleukin-6 and metallothionein 1a polymorphisms. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis identified several zinc-responsive genetic networks uniquely regulated only in elderly individuals with the pro-inflammatory interleukin-6 polymorphism. These include zinc-dependent decreased transcription of pro-inflammatory cytokines and alterations in metabolic regulatory pathways. The genomic effects of zinc increased in significance in the presence of the metallothionein 1a +647 C/A transition, suggesting that the interleukin-6 and metallothionein 1a genes act in a concerted manner to control zinc-regulated gene expression.
 
Top-cited authors
Claudio Franceschi
  • University of Bologna
Graham Pawelec
  • University of Tuebingen
Rajindar S Sohal
  • University of Southern California
Rita Effros
  • The Gerontological Society of America
Anatoliy Yashin
  • Duke University