Aging is associated with a progressive loss of muscle mass and strength and a decline in neurophysiological functions. Age-related neuromuscular junction (NMJ) plays a key role in musculoskeletal impairment that occurs with aging. However, whether changes in the NMJ precede or follow the decline of muscle mass and strength remains unresolved. Many factors such as mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, inflammation, changes in the innervation of muscle fibers, and mechanical properties of the motor units probably perform an important role in NMJ degeneration and muscle mass and strength decline in late life. This review addresses the primary events that might lead to NMJ dysfunction with aging, including studies on biomarkers, signaling pathways, and animal models. Interventions such as caloric restriction and exercise may positively affect the NMJ through this mechanism and attenuate the age-related progressive impairment in motor function.
Remodeling in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has at least two dimensions: small airway wall thickening and destruction of alveolar walls. Recently we showed comparable alterations of the extracellular matrix (ECM) compounds collagen, hyaluoran, and elastin in alveolar and small airway walls of COPD patients. The aim of this study was to characterize and assess similarities in alveolar and small airway wall matrix remodeling in chronic COPD models. From this comparative characterization of matrix remodeling we derived and elaborated underlying mechanisms to the matrix changes reported in COPD. Lung tissue sections of chronic models for COPD, either induced by exposure to cigarette smoke, chronic intratracheal lipopolysaccharide instillation, or local tumor necrosis factor (TNF) expression [surfactant protein C (SPC)-TNF? mice], were stained for elastin, collagen, and hyaluronan. Furthermore TNF-? matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2, -9, and -12 mRNA expression was analyzed using qPCR and localized using immunohistochemistry. Both collagen and hyaluronan were increased in alveolar and small airway walls of all three models. Interestingly, elastin contents were differentially affected, with a decrease in both alveolar and airway walls in SPC-TNF? mice. Furthermore TNF-? and MMP-2 and -9 mRNA and protein levels were found to be increased in alveolar walls and around airway walls only in SPC-TNF? mice. We show that only SPC-TNF? mice show changes in elastin remodeling that are comparable to what has been observed in COPD patients. This reveals that the SPC-TNF? model is a suitable model to study processes underlying matrix remodeling and in particular elastin breakdown as seen in COPD. Furthermore we indicate a possible role for MMP-2 and MMP-9 in the breakdown of elastin in airways and alveoli of SPC-TNF? mice.
A decline of the levels and activity of Sirtuin1 (Sirt1), a NAD(+) class III histone deacetylase, with age contributes to the development of several diseases including type 2 diabetes, neurodegeneration, inflammation, and cancer. The anti-aging effects of Sirt1 evidently result from the deacetylation of many transcription factors and co-factors including members of the Forkhead box O (FoxO) family and ?-catenin. Wnt/?-catenin is indispensable for osteoblast generation. FoxOs, on the other hand, sequester ?-catenin and inhibit osteoprogenitor proliferation. Here, we have deleted Sirt1 in osteoprogenitors expressing Osterix1 (Osx1)-Cre and their descendants. Sirt1(?Osx1) mice had lower cortical thickness in femora and vertebrae because of reduced bone formation at the endocortical surface. In line with this, osteoprogenitor cell cultures from the Sirt1(?Osx1) mice exhibited lower alkaline phosphatase activity and mineralization, as well as decreased proliferation and increased apoptosis. These changes were associated with decreased Wnt/?-catenin signaling and expression of cyclin D1 and resulted from increased binding of FoxOs to ?-catenin. These findings demonstrate that Sirt1-induced deacetylation of FoxOs unleashes Wnt signaling. A decline in Sirt1 activity in osteoblast progenitors with aging may, therefore, contribute to the age-related loss of bone mass. Together with evidence that Sirt1 activators increase bone mass in aged mice, our results also suggest that Sirt1 could be a therapeutic target for osteoporosis.
The mammalian RNA-binding protein AUF1 (AU-binding factor 1, also known as heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein D [hnRNP D]) binds to numerous mRNAs and influences their posttranscriptional fate. Given that many AUF1 target mRNAs encode muscle-specific factors, we investigated the function of AUF1 in skeletal muscle differentiation. In mouse C2C12 myocytes, where AUF1 levels rise at the onset of myogenesis and remain elevated throughout myocyte differentiation into myotubes, RNP immunoprecipitation (RIP) analysis indicated that AUF1 binds prominently to Mef2c (myocyte enhancer factor 2c) mRNA, which encodes the key myogenic transcription factor MEF2C. By performing mRNA half-life measurements and polysome distribution analysis, we found that AUF1 associated with the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of Mef2c mRNA and promoted MEF2C translation without affecting Mef2c mRNA stability. In addition, AUF1 promoted Mef2c gene transcription via a lesser-known role of AUF1 in transcriptional regulation. Importantly, lowering AUF1 delayed myogenesis, while ectopically restoring MEF2C expression levels partially rescued the impairment of myogenesis seen after reducing AUF1 levels. We propose that MEF2C is a key effector of the myogenesis program promoted by AUF1.
Imbalance between proliferation and cell death accounts for several age-linked diseases. Aging, calorie restriction (CR), and fat source are all factors that may influence apoptotic signaling in liver, an organ that plays a central metabolic role in the organism. Here, we have studied the combined effect of these factors on a number of apoptosis regulators and effectors. For this purpose, animals were fed diets containing different fat sources (lard, soybean oil, or fish oil) under CR for 6 or 18 months. An age-linked increase in the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway was detected with CR, including a decrease in Bcl-2/Bax ratio, an enhanced release of cytochrome c to the cytosol and higher caspase-9 activity. However, these changes were not fully transmitted to the effectors apoptosis-inducing factor and caspase-3. CR (which abated aging-related inflammatory responses) and dietary fat altered the activities of caspases-8, -9, and -3. Apoptotic index (DNA fragmentation) and mean nuclear area were increased in aged animals with the exception of calorie-restricted mice fed a lard-based fat source. These results suggest possible protective changes in hepatic homeostasis with aging in the calorie-restricted lard group.
The primarily neuronal RNA-binding protein HuD is implicated in learning and memory. Here, we report the identification of several HuD target transcripts linked to Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis. HuD interacted with the 3' UTRs of APP mRNA (encoding amyloid precursor protein) and BACE1 mRNA (encoding ?-site APP-cleaving enzyme 1) and increased the half-lives of these mRNAs. HuD also associated with and stabilized the long noncoding (lnc)RNA BACE1AS, which partly complements BACE1 mRNA and enhances BACE1 expression. Consistent with HuD promoting production of APP and APP-cleaving enzyme, the levels of APP, BACE1, BACE1AS, and A? were higher in the brain of HuD-overexpressing mice. Importantly, cortex (superior temporal gyrus) from patients with AD displayed significantly higher levels of HuD and, accordingly, elevated APP, BACE1, BACE1AS, and A? than did cortical tissue from healthy age-matched individuals. We propose that HuD jointly promotes the production of APP and the cleavage of its amyloidogenic fragment, A?.
In this paper we analyzed changes in hepatocyte mitochondrial mass and ultrastructure as well as in mitochondrial markers of fission/fusion and biogenesis in mice subjected to 40% calorie restriction (CR) for 18 months versus ad libitum-fed controls. Animals subjected to CR were separated into three groups with different dietary fats: soybean oil (also in controls), fish oil and lard. Therefore, the effect of the dietary fat under CR was studied as well. Our results show that CR induced changes in hepatocyte and mitochondrial size, in the volume fraction occupied by mitochondria, and in the number of mitochondria per hepatocyte. Also, mean number of mitochondrial cristae and lengths were significantly higher in all CR groups compared with controls. Finally, CR had no remarkable effects on the expression levels of fission and fusion protein markers. However, considerable differences in many of these parameters were found when comparing the CR groups, supporting the idea that dietary fat plays a relevant role in the modulation of CR effects in aged mice.
Membrane-bound CYB5R3 deficiency in humans causes recessive hereditary methaemoglobinaemia (RHM), an incurable disease that is characterized by severe neurological disorders. CYB5R3 encodes for NADH-dependent redox enzyme that contributes to metabolic homeostasis and stress protection; however, how it is involved in the neurological pathology of RHM remains unknown. Here, the role and transcriptional regulation of CYB5R3 was studied under nutritional and oxidative stress.
Increased expression of SIRT1 extends the lifespan of lower organisms and delays the onset of age-related diseases in mammals. Here, we show that SRT2104, a synthetic small molecule activator of SIRT1, extends both mean and maximal lifespan of mice fed a standard diet. This is accompanied by improvements in health, including enhanced motor coordination, performance, bone mineral density, and insulin sensitivity associated with higher mitochondrial content and decreased inflammation. Short-term SRT2104 treatment preserves bone and muscle mass in an experimental model of atrophy. These results demonstrate it is possible to design a small molecule that can slow aging and delay multiple age-related diseases in mammals, supporting the therapeutic potential of SIRT1 activators in humans.
The prevention or delay of the onset of age-related diseases prolongs survival and improves quality of life while reducing the burden on the health care system. Activation of sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), an NAD(+)-dependent deacetylase, improves metabolism and confers protection against physiological and cognitive disturbances in old age. SRT1720 is a specific SIRT1 activator that has health and lifespan benefits in adult mice fed a high-fat diet. We found extension in lifespan, delayed onset of age-related metabolic diseases, and improved general health in mice fed a standard diet after SRT1720 supplementation. Inhibition of proinflammatory gene expression in both liver and muscle of SRT1720-treated animals was noted. SRT1720 lowered the phosphorylation of NF-?B pathway regulators in vitro only when SIRT1 was functionally present. Combined with our previous work, the current study further supports the beneficial effects of SRT1720 on health across the lifespan in mice.
Central arterial wall stiffening, driven by a chronic inflammatory milieu, accompanies arterial diseases, the leading cause of cardiovascular (CV) morbidity and mortality in Western society. An increase in central arterial wall stiffening, measured as an increase in aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV), is a major risk factor for clinical CV disease events. However, no specific therapies to reduce PWV are presently available. In rhesus monkeys, a 2 year diet high in fat and sucrose (HFS) increases not only body weight and cholesterol, but also induces prominent central arterial wall stiffening and increases PWV and inflammation. The observed loss of endothelial cell integrity, lipid and macrophage infiltration, and calcification of the arterial wall were driven by genomic and proteomic signatures of oxidative stress and inflammation. Resveratrol prevented the HFS-induced arterial wall inflammation and the accompanying increase in PWV. Dietary resveratrol may hold promise as a therapy to ameliorate increases in PWV.
The phenomenon of aging is an intrinsic feature of life. Accordingly, the possibility to manipulate it has fascinated humans likely since time immemorial. Recent evidence is shaping a picture where low caloric regimes and exercise may improve healthy senescence, and several pharmacological strategies have been suggested to counteract aging. Surprisingly, the most effective interventions proposed to date converge on only a few cellular processes, in particular nutrient signaling, mitochondrial efficiency, proteostasis, and autophagy. Here, we critically examine drugs and behaviors to which life- or healthspan-extending properties have been ascribed and discuss the underlying molecular mechanisms.
Ever since eukaryotes subsumed the bacterial ancestor of mitochondria, the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes have had to closely coordinate their activities, as each encode different subunits of the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) system. Mitochondrial dysfunction is a hallmark of aging, but its causes are debated. We show that, during aging, there is a specific loss of mitochondrial, but not nuclear, encoded OXPHOS subunits. We trace the cause to an alternate PGC-1?/?-independent pathway of nuclear-mitochondrial communication that is induced by a decline in nuclear NAD(+) and the accumulation of HIF-1? under normoxic conditions, with parallels to Warburg reprogramming. Deleting SIRT1 accelerates this process, whereas raising NAD(+) levels in old mice restores mitochondrial function to that of a young mouse in a SIRT1-dependent manner. Thus, a pseudohypoxic state that disrupts PGC-1?/?-independent nuclear-mitochondrial communication contributes to the decline in mitochondrial function with age, a process that is apparently reversible.
Calorie restriction (CR) is a lifestyle intervention employed to reduce body weight and improve metabolic functions primarily via reduction of ingested carbohydrates and fats. Taste perception is highly related to functional metabolic status and body adiposity. We have previously shown that sweet taste perception diminishes with age; however, relatively little is known about the effects of various lengths of CR upon taste cell morphology and function. We investigated the effects of CR on taste bud morphology and expression of sweet taste-related modulators in 5-, 17-, and 30-month-old rats. In ad libitum (AL) and CR rats, we consistently found the following parameters altered significantly with advancing age: reduction of taste bud size and taste cell numbers per taste bud and reduced expression of sonic hedgehog, type 1 taste receptor 3 (T1r3), ?-gustducin, and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). In the oldest rats, CR affected a significant reduction of tongue T1r3, GLP-1, and ?-gustducin expression compared with age-matched AL rats. Leptin receptor immunopositive cells were elevated in 17- and 30-month-old CR rats compared with age-matched AL rats. These alterations of sweet taste-related modulators, specifically during advanced aging, suggest that sweet taste perception may be altered in response to different lengths of CR.
The levels of microRNAs (miRNAs) are altered under different conditions such as cancer, senescence, and aging. Here, we have identified differentially expressed miRNAs in skeletal muscle from young and old rhesus monkeys using RNA sequencing. In old muscle, several miRNAs were upregulated, including miR-451, miR-144, miR-18a and miR-15a, while a few miRNAs were downregulated, including miR-181a and miR-181b. A number of novel miRNAs were also identified, particularly in old muscle. We also examined the impact of caloric restriction (CR) on miRNA abundance by reverse transcription (RT) followed by real-time, quantitative (q)PCR analysis and found that CR rescued the levels of miR-181b and chr1:205580546, and also dampened the age-induced increase in miR-451 and miR-144 levels. Our results reveal that there are changes in expression of known and novel miRNAs with skeletal muscle aging and that CR may reverse some of these changes to a younger phenotype.
We reported previously that tumor-evoked regulatory B cells (tBregs) play an essential role in breast cancer lung metastasis by inducing TGF-?-dependent conversion of metastasis-promoting Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs). In this article, we show that resveratrol (RSV), a plant-derived polyphenol, at low and noncytotoxic doses for immune cells, can efficiently inhibit lung metastasis in mice. The mechanism of this process is that RSV inactivates Stat3, preventing the generation and function of tBregs, including expression of TGF-?. As a result, it frees antitumor effector immune responses by disabling tBreg-induced conversion of Foxp3(+) Tregs. We propose that low doses of RSV may also benefit humans by controlling cancer escape-promoting tBregs/Tregs without nonspecific inactivation of effector immune cells.
Calorie restriction is the most powerful method currently known to delay aging-associated disease and extend lifespan. Use of this technique in combination with genetic models has led to identification of key metabolic regulators of lifespan. Limiting energy availability by restricting caloric intake leads to redistribution of energy expenditure and storage. The signaling required for these metabolic changes is mediated in part by the sirtuins at both the posttranslational and transcriptional levels, and consequently, sirtuins are recognized as instigating factors in the regulation of lifespan. This family of class III protein deacetylases is responsible for directing energy regulation based on NAD(+) availability. However, there are many effectors of NAD(+) availability, and hence sirtuin action, that should be considered when performing experiments using calorie restriction. The methods outlined in this chapter are intended to provide a guide to help the aging community to use and interpret experimental calorie restriction properly. The importance of healthspan and the use of repeated measures to assess metabolic health during lifespan experiments are strongly emphasized.
Obesity is associated with a chronic, low-grade, systemic inflammation that may contribute to the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Resveratrol, a natural compound with anti-inflammatory properties, is shown to improve glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in obese mice and humans. Here, we tested the effect of a 2-year resveratrol administration on proinflammatory profile and insulin resistance caused by a high-fat, high-sugar (HFS) diet in white adipose tissue (WAT) from rhesus monkeys. Resveratrol supplementation (80 and 480 mg/day for the first and second year, respectively) decreased adipocyte size, increased sirtuin 1 expression, decreased NF-?B activation, and improved insulin sensitivity in visceral, but not subcutaneous, WAT from HFS-fed animals. These effects were reproduced in 3T3-L1 adipocytes cultured in media supplemented with serum from monkeys fed HFS ± resveratrol diets. In conclusion, chronic administration of resveratrol exerts beneficial metabolic and inflammatory adaptations in visceral WAT from diet-induced obese monkeys.
Age-related pseudocapillarization of the liver sinusoidal endothelium is associated with impaired lipid and drug metabolism and the development of disease. 2,5-Dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine is a serotonin receptor 2 agonist that has been shown to have beneficial effects on the liver sinusoidal endothelium in the setting of partial hepatectomy. Here, we have assessed whether 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine influences ultrastructure of the sinusoidal endothelium in normal 7- and 24-month-old C57Bl6 mice. Following 48 hours of 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine administration, we found that the liver endothelium in the young, but not in the old, mice had increased porosity compared with controls. This effect appeared to be modulated by increased fenestration size rather than a change in fenestration number. 2,5-Dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine is a useful manipulator of fenestration size in the young liver and could be harnessed in the search for therapeutic interventions for pseudocapillarization.
Recent findings have shown that the intrauterine environment can negatively influence long-term insulin sensitivity in the offspring. Here we look at maternal voluntary exercise as an intervention to improve offspring insulin sensitivity and glucose homeostasis.
The SIRT1 deacetylase is one of the best-studied putative mediators of some of the anti-aging effects of calorie restriction (CR), but its role in CR-dependent lifespan extension has not been demonstrated. We previously found that mice lacking both copies of SIRT1 displayed a shorter median lifespan than wild-type mice on an ad libitum diet. Here, we report that median lifespan extension in CR heterozygote SIRT1(+/-) mice was identical (51%) to that observed in wild-type mice, but SIRT1(+/-) mice displayed a higher frequency of certain pathologies. Although larger studies in additional genetic backgrounds are needed, these results provide strong initial evidence for the requirement of SIRT1 for the lifespan extension effects of CR, but suggest that its high expression is not required for CR-induced lifespan extension.
Eating a "Westernized" diet high in fat and sugar leads to weight gain and numerous health problems, including the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Rodent studies have shown that resveratrol supplementation reduces blood glucose levels, preserves ?-cells in islets of Langerhans, and improves insulin action. Although rodent models are helpful for understanding ?-cell biology and certain aspects of T2DM pathology, they fail to reproduce the complexity of the human disease as well as that of nonhuman primates. Rhesus monkeys were fed a standard diet (SD), or a high-fat/high-sugar diet in combination with either placebo (HFS) or resveratrol (HFS+Resv) for 24 months, and pancreata were examined before overt dysglycemia occurred. Increased glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and insulin resistance occurred in both HFS and HFS+Resv diets compared with SD. Although islet size was unaffected, there was a significant decrease in ?-cells and an increase in ?-cells containing glucagon and glucagon-like peptide 1 with HFS diets. Islets from HFS+Resv monkeys were morphologically similar to SD. HFS diets also resulted in decreased expression of essential ?-cell transcription factors forkhead box O1 (FOXO1), NKX6-1, NKX2-2, and PDX1, which did not occur with resveratrol supplementation. Similar changes were observed in human islets where the effects of resveratrol were mediated through Sirtuin 1. These findings have implications for the management of humans with insulin resistance, prediabetes, and diabetes.
We investigated the effect of aging on hepatic pharmacokinetics and the degree of hepatotoxicity following a toxic dose of acetaminophen. Young and old male Fischer 344 rats were treated with 800 mg/kg acetaminophen (young n = 8, old n = 5) or saline (young n = 9, old n = 9). Serum measurements showed old rats treated with acetaminophen had significantly lower serum alanine aminotransferase and higher acetaminophen and acetaminophen glucuronide levels and creatinine, compared with acetaminophen treated young rats (p < .05). Immunoblotting and activity assays showed old saline-treated rats had twofold lower cytochrome P450 2E1 activity and threefold higher NAD(P)H quinone oxireductase 1 protein expression and activity than young saline-treated rats (p < .05), although Nrf2, glutathione cysteine ligase-modulatory subunit, glutathione cysteine ligase-catalytic subunit, and cytochrome P450 2E1 protein expressions were unchanged. Primary hepatocytes isolated from young rats treated with 10 mM acetaminophen had lower survival than those from old rats (52.4% ± 5.8%, young; 83.6% ± 1.7%, old, p < .05). The pharmacokinetic changes described may decrease susceptibility to acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity but may increase risk of nephrotoxicity in old age.
Toll-like receptors (TLR) are innate immune receptors typically activated by microbial-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) during infection or damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) as a result of tissue injury. Recent findings suggest that TLR2 and TLR4 signaling play important roles in developmental and adult neuroplasticity, and in learning and memory. In addition, activation of TLR2 and TLR4 worsens ischemic injury to the heart and brain in animal models of myocardial infarction and stroke. TLR activation is also implicated in thermoregulation and fever in response to infection. However, it is not known whether TLRs participate in the regulation of the sympathetic and/or parasympathetic components of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Here we provide evidence that TLR2 and TLR4 influence autonomic regulation of heart rate (HR) body temperature and energy metabolism in mice. We show that mice lacking TLR2 or TLR4 exhibit reduced basal HR, which results from an increase of parasympathetic tone. In addition, thermoregulatory responses to stress are altered in TLR2-/- and TLR4-/- mice, and brown fat-dependent thermoregulation is altered in TLR4-/- mice. Moreover, TLR2-/- and TLR4-/- mice consume less food and exhibit a greater mass compared to wild type mice. Collectively, our findings suggest important roles for TLR2 and TLR4 in the ANS regulation of cardiovascular function, thermoregulation, and energy metabolism.
Metformin is a drug commonly prescribed to treat patients with type 2 diabetes. Here we show that long-term treatment with metformin (0.1% w/w in diet) starting at middle age extends healthspan and lifespan in male mice, while a higher dose (1% w/w) was toxic. Treatment with metformin mimics some of the benefits of calorie restriction, such as improved physical performance, increased insulin sensitivity, and reduced low-density lipoprotein and cholesterol levels without a decrease in caloric intake. At a molecular level, metformin increases AMP-activated protein kinase activity and increases antioxidant protection, resulting in reductions in both oxidative damage accumulation and chronic inflammation. Our results indicate that these actions may contribute to the beneficial effects of metformin on healthspan and lifespan. These findings are in agreement with current epidemiological data and raise the possibility of metformin-based interventions to promote healthy aging.
Metabolic diseases are characterized by the failure of regulatory genes or proteins to effectively orchestrate specific pathways involved in the control of many biological processes. In addition to the classical regulators, recent discoveries have shown the remarkable role of small noncoding RNAs (microRNAs [miRNAs]) in the posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression. In this regard, we have recently demonstrated that miR-33a and miR33b, intronic miRNAs located within the sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP) genes, regulate lipid metabolism in concert with their host genes. Here, we show that miR-33b also cooperates with SREBP1 in regulating glucose metabolism by targeting phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PCK1) and glucose-6-phosphatase (G6PC), key regulatory enzymes of hepatic gluconeogenesis. Overexpression of miR-33b in human hepatic cells inhibits PCK1 and G6PC expression, leading to a significant reduction of glucose production. Importantly, hepatic SREBP1c/miR-33b levels correlate inversely with the expression of PCK1 and G6PC upon glucose infusion in rhesus monkeys. Taken together, these results suggest that miR-33b works in concert with its host gene to ensure a fine-tuned regulation of lipid and glucose homeostasis, highlighting the clinical potential of miR-33a/b as novel therapeutic targets for a range of metabolic diseases.
Caloric restriction (CR) and down-regulation of the insulin/IGF pathway are the most robust interventions known to increase longevity in lower organisms. However, little is known about the molecular adaptations induced by CR in humans. Here, we report that long-term CR in humans inhibits the IGF-1/insulin pathway in skeletal muscle, a key metabolic tissue. We also demonstrate that CR induces dramatic changes of the skeletal muscle transcriptional profile that resemble those of younger individuals. Finally, in both rats and humans, CR evoked similar responses in the transcriptional profiles of skeletal muscle. This common signature consisted of three key pathways typically associated with longevity: IGF-1/insulin signaling, mitochondrial biogenesis, and inflammation. Furthermore, our data identify promising pathways for therapeutic targets to combat age-related diseases and promote health in humans.
hsa-miR-33a and hsa-miR-33b, intronic microRNAs (miRNAs) located within the sterol regulatory element-binding protein 2 and 1 genes (Srebp-2 and -1), respectively, have recently been shown to regulate lipid homeostasis in concert with their host genes. Although the functional role of miR-33a and -b has been highly investigated, the role of their passenger strands, miR-33a* and -b*, remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that miR-33a* and -b* accumulate to steady-state levels in human, mouse, and nonhuman primate tissues and share a similar lipid metabolism target gene network as their sister strands. Analogous to miR-33, miR-33* represses key enzymes involved in cholesterol efflux (ABCA1 and NPC1), fatty acid metabolism (CROT and CPT1a), and insulin signaling (IRS2). Moreover, miR-33* also targets key transcriptional regulators of lipid metabolism, including SRC1, SRC3, NFYC, and RIP140. Importantly, inhibition of either miR-33 or miR-33* rescues target gene expression in cells overexpressing pre-miR-33. Consistent with this, overexpression of miR-33* reduces fatty acid oxidation in human hepatic cells. Altogether, these data support a regulatory role for the miRNA* species and suggest that miR-33 regulates lipid metabolism through both arms of the miR-33/miR-33* duplex.
RAP1 is part of shelterin, the protective complex at telomeres. RAP1 also binds along chromosome arms, where it is proposed to regulate gene expression. To investigate the nontelomeric roles of RAP1 in vivo, we generated a RAP1 whole-body knockout mouse. These mice show early onset of obesity, which is more severe in females than in males. Rap1-deficient mice show accumulation of abdominal fat, hepatic steatosis, and high-fasting plasma levels of insulin, glucose, cholesterol, and alanine aminotransferase. Gene expression analyses of liver and visceral white fat from Rap1-deficient mice before the onset of obesity show deregulation of metabolic programs, including fatty acid, glucose metabolism, and PPAR? signaling. We identify Ppar? and Pgc1? as key factors affected by Rap1 deletion in the liver. We show that RAP1 binds to Ppar? and Pgc1? loci and modulates their transcription. These findings reveal a role for a telomere-binding protein in the regulation of metabolism.
Wnt/?-catenin/TCF signaling stimulates bone formation and suppresses adipogenesis. The hallmarks of skeletal involution with age, on the other hand, are decreased bone formation and increased bone marrow adiposity. These changes are associated with increased oxidative stress and decreased growth factor production, which activate members of the FOXO family of transcription factors. FOXOs in turn attenuate Wnt/?-catenin signaling by diverting ?-catenin from TCF- to FOXO-mediated transcription. We show herein that mice lacking Foxo1, -3, and -4 in bipotential progenitors of osteoblast and adipocytes (expressing Osterix1) exhibited increased osteoblast number and high bone mass that was maintained in old age as well as decreased adiposity in the aged bone marrow. The increased bone mass in the Foxo-deficient mice was accounted for by increased proliferation of osteoprogenitor cells and bone formation resulting from upregulation of Wnt/?-catenin signaling and cyclin D1 expression, but not changes in redox balance. Consistent with this mechanism, ?-catenin deletion in Foxo null cells abrogated both the increased cyclin D1 expression and proliferation. The elucidation of a restraining effect of FOXOs on Wnt signaling in bipotential progenitors suggests that FOXO activation by accumulation of age-associated cellular stressors may be a seminal pathogenetic mechanism in the development of involutional osteoporosis.
We analyzed ultrastructural changes and markers of fission/fusion in hepatocyte mitochondria from mice submitted to 40% calorie restriction (CR) for 6 months versus ad-libitum-fed controls. To study the effects of dietary fat under CR, animals were separated into three CR groups with soybean oil (also in controls), fish oil, and lard. CR induced differential changes in hepatocyte and mitochondrial size, in the volume fraction occupied by mitochondria, and in the number of mitochondria per hepatocyte. The number of cristae per mitochondrion was significantly higher in all CR groups compared with controls. Proteins related to mitochondrial fission (Fis1 and Drp1) increased with CR, but no changes were detected in proteins involved in mitochondrial fusion (Mfn1, Mfn2, and OPA1). Although many of these changes could be attributed to CR regardless of dietary fat, changing membrane lipid composition by different fat sources did modulate the effects of CR on hepatocyte mitochondria.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) deficiency syndrome is a rare condition that causes mitochondrial dysfunction and includes a variety of clinical presentations as encephalomyopathy, ataxia and renal failure. First, we sought to set up what all have in common, and then investigate why CoQ10 supplementation reverses the bioenergetics alterations in cultured cells but not all the cellular phenotypes. DESIGN MODELLING STUDY: This work models the transcriptome of human CoQ10 deficiency syndrome in primary fibroblast from patients and study the genetic response to CoQ10 treatment in these cells.
Calorie restriction (CR) is a reliable anti-aging intervention that attenuates the onset of a number of age-related diseases, reduces oxidative damage, and maintains function during aging. In the current study, we assessed the effects of CR and other feeding regimens on wound healing in 7-month-old Fischer-344 rats from a larger cohort of rats that had been fed either ad libitum (AL) or 40% calorie restricted based on AL consumption. Rats were assigned to one of three diet groups that received three skin punch wounds along the dorsal interscapular region (12-mm diameter near the front limbs) of the back as follows: (1) CR (n = 8) were wounded and maintained on CR until they healed, (2) AL (n = 5) were wounded and maintained on AL until wound closure was completed, and (3) CR rats were refed (RF, n = 9) AL for 48 h prior to wounding and maintained on AL until they healed. We observed that young rats on CR healed more slowly while CR rats refed for 48 h prior to wounding healed as fast as AL fed rats, similar to a study reported in aged CR and RF mice (Reed et al. 1996). Our data suggest that CR subjects, regardless of age, fail to heal well and that provision of increased nutrition to CR subjects prior to wounding enhances the healing process.
During aging there is an increasing imbalance of energy intake and expenditure resulting in obesity, frailty, and metabolic disorders. For decades, research has shown that caloric restriction (CR) and exercise can postpone detrimental aspects of aging. These two interventions invoke a similar physiological signature involving pathways associated with stress responses and mitochondrial homeostasis. Nonetheless, CR is able to delay aging processes that result in an increase of both mean and maximum lifespan, whereas exercise primarily increases healthspan. Due to the strict dietary regime necessary to achieve the beneficial effects of CR, most studies to date have focused on rodents and non-human primates. As a consequence, there is vast interest in the development of compounds such as resveratrol, metformin and rapamycin that would activate the same metabolic- and stress-response pathways induced by these interventions without actually restricting caloric intake. Therefore the scope of this review is to (i) describe the benefits of CR and exercise in healthy individuals, (ii) discuss the role of these interventions in the diseased state, and (iii) examine some of the promising pharmacological alternatives such as CR- and exercise-mimetics.
Resveratrol, a polyphenolic compound, has been shown to extend lifespan in different organisms. Emerging evidence suggests that the prolongevity effect of resveratrol depends on dietary composition. However, the mechanisms underlying the interaction of resveratrol and dietary nutrients in modulating lifespan remain elusive. Here, we investigated the effect of resveratrol on lifespan of Drosophila melanogaster fed diets differing in the concentrations of sugar, yeast extract, and palmitic acid representing carbohydrate, protein, and fat, respectively. Resveratrol at up to 200 ?M in diets did not affect lifespan of wild-type female flies fed a standard, restricted or high sugar-low protein diet, but extended lifespan of females fed a low sugar-high protein diet. Resveratrol at 400 ?M extended lifespan of females fed a high-fat diet. Lifespan extension by resveratrol was associated with downregulation of genes in aging-related pathways, including antioxidant peroxiredoxins, insulin-like peptides involved in insulin-like signaling and several downstream genes in Jun-kinase signaling involved in oxidative stress response. Furthermore, resveratrol increased lifespan of superoxide dismutase 1 (sod1) knockdown mutant females fed a standard or high-fat diet. No lifespan extension by resveratrol was observed in wild-type and sod1 knockdown males under the culture conditions in this study. Our results suggest that the gender-specific prolongevity effect of resveratrol is influenced by dietary composition and resveratrol promotes the survival of flies by modulating genetic pathways that can reduce cellular damage. This study reveals the context-dependent effect of resveratrol on lifespan and suggests the importance of dietary nutrients in implementation of effective aging interventions using dietary supplements.
Sirt1 is an NAD(+)-dependent deacetylase that extends lifespan in lower organisms and improves metabolism and delays the onset of age-related diseases in mammals. Here we show that SRT1720, a synthetic compound that was identified for its ability to activate Sirt1 in vitro, extends both mean and maximum lifespan of adult mice fed a high-fat diet. This lifespan extension is accompanied by health benefits including reduced liver steatosis, increased insulin sensitivity, enhanced locomotor activity and normalization of gene expression profiles and markers of inflammation and apoptosis, all in the absence of any observable toxicity. Using a conditional SIRT1 knockout mouse and specific gene knockdowns we show SRT1720 affects mitochondrial respiration in a Sirt1- and PGC-1?-dependent manner. These findings indicate that SRT1720 has long-term benefits and demonstrate for the first time the feasibility of designing novel molecules that are safe and effective in promoting longevity and preventing multiple age-related diseases in mammals.
Despite remarkable technological advances in genetics and drug screening, the discovery of new pharmacotherapies has slowed and new approaches to drug development are needed. Research into the biology of aging is generating many novel targets for drug development that may delay all age-related diseases and be used long term by the entire population. Drugs that successfully delay the aging process will clearly become "blockbusters." To date, the most promising leads have come from studies of the cellular pathways mediating the longevity effects of caloric restriction (CR), particularly target of rapamycin and the sirtuins. Similar research into pathways governing other hormetic responses that influence aging is likely to yield even more targets. As aging becomes a more attractive target for drug development, there will be increasing demand to develop biomarkers of aging as surrogate outcomes for the testing of the effects of new agents on the aging process.
Reduced expression of the Indy (Im Not Dead, Yet) gene in D. melanogaster and its homolog in C. elegans prolongs life span and in D. melanogaster augments mitochondrial biogenesis in a manner akin to caloric restriction. However, the cellular mechanism by which Indy does this is unknown. Here, we report on the knockout mouse model of the mammalian Indy (mIndy) homolog, SLC13A5. Deletion of mIndy in mice (mINDY(-/-) mice) reduces hepatocellular ATP/ADP ratio, activates hepatic AMPK, induces PGC-1?, inhibits ACC-2, and reduces SREBP-1c levels. This signaling network promotes hepatic mitochondrial biogenesis, lipid oxidation, and energy expenditure and attenuates hepatic de novo lipogenesis. Together, these traits protect mINDY(-/-) mice from the adiposity and insulin resistance that evolve with high-fat feeding and aging. Our studies demonstrate a profound effect of mIndy on mammalian energy metabolism and suggest that mINDY might be a therapeutic target for the treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
There is strong evidence showing that aging is associated with vascular oxidative stress, which has been causally linked to the development of cardiovascular diseases. NF-E2-related factor-2 (Nrf2) is a transcription factor, which is activated by reactive oxygen species in the vasculature of young animals leading to the upregulation of various antioxidant genes. The present study was designed to elucidate age-related changes in the homeostatic role of Nrf2-driven free radical detoxification mechanisms in the vasculature. We found that in the aorta of Fischer 344 × Brown Norway rats, aging results in a progressive increase in O(2)(·-) production, and downregulates protein and mRNA expression of Nrf2, which is associated with a decreased nuclear Nrf2 activity and a decrease in the Nrf2 target genes NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1, ?-glutamylcysteine synthetase, and heme oxygenase-1. There was an inverse relationship between vascular expression of Nrf2 target genes and age-related increases in the expression of the NF-?B target genes ICAM-1 and IL-6, which was significant by regression analysis. In cultured aorta segments of young (3 mo old) rats treatment with H(2)O(2) and high glucose significantly increases nuclear translocation of Nrf2 and upregulates the expression of Nrf2 target genes. In contrast, in cultured aorta segments of aged (24 mo old) rats, the induction of Nrf2-dependent responses by H(2)O(2) and high glucose are blunted. High glucose-induced vascular oxidative stress was more severe in aortas of aged rats, as shown by the significantly increased H(2)O(2) production in these vessels, compared with responses obtained in aortas from young rats. Moreover, we found that aging progressively increases vascular sensitivity to the proapoptotic effects of H(2)O(2) and high glucose treatments. Taken together, aging is associated with Nrf2 dysfunction in the vasculature, which likely exacerbates age-related cellular oxidative stress and increases sensitivity of aged vessels to oxidative stress-induced cellular damage.
Some patients experience enduring cognitive impairment after cancer treatment, a condition termed "chemofog". Animal models allow assessment of chemotherapy effects on learning and memory per se, independent of changes due to cancer itself or associated health consequences such as depression. The present study examined the long-term learning and memory effects of a chemotherapy cocktail used widely in the treatment of breast cancer, consisting of 5-fluorouracil (5FU) and cyclophosphamide (CYP). Eighty 5-month old male F344 rats received contextual and cued fear conditioning before treatment with saline, or a low or high dose drug cocktail (50mg/kg CYP and 75 mg/kg 5FU, or 75 mg/kg CYP and 120 mg/kg 5FU, i.p., respectively) every 30 days for 2 months. After a 2-month, no-drug recovery, both long-term retention and new task acquisition in the water maze and 14-unit T-maze were assessed. Neither dose of the CYP/5FU cocktail impaired retrograde fear memory despite marked toxicity documented by enduring weight loss and 50% mortality at the higher dose. Acquisition in the water maze and Stone maze was also normal relative to controls in rats treated with CYP/5FU. The results contribute to a growing literature suggesting that learning and memory mediated by the hippocampus can be relatively resistant to chemotherapy. Future investigation may need to focus on assessments of processing speed, executive function and attention, and the possible interactive contribution of cancer itself and aging to the post-treatment development of cognitive impairment.
In mammals, the transcriptional activity of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is regulated by the deacetylase SIRT1. However, whether the newly described nongenomic actions of STAT3 toward mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation are dependent on SIRT1 is unclear. In this study, Sirt1 gene knock-out murine embryonic fibroblast (MEF) cells were used to delineate the role of SIRT1 in the regulation of STAT3 mitochondrial function. Here, we show that STAT3 mRNA and protein levels and the accumulation of serine-phosphorylated STAT3 in mitochondria were increased significantly in Sirt1-KO cells as compared with wild-type MEFs. Various mitochondrial bioenergetic parameters, such as the oxygen consumption rate in cell cultures, enzyme activities of the electron transport chain complexes in isolated mitochondria, and production of ATP and lactate, indicated that Sirt1-KO cells exhibited higher mitochondrial respiration as compared with wild-type MEFs. Two independent approaches, including ectopic expression of SIRT1 and siRNA-mediated knockdown of STAT3, led to reduction in intracellular ATP levels and increased lactate production in Sirt1-KO cells that were approaching those of wild-type controls. Comparison of profiles of phospho-antibody array data indicated that the deletion of SirT1 was accompanied by constitutive activation of the pro-inflammatory NF-?B pathway, which is key for STAT3 induction and increased cellular respiration in Sirt1-KO cells. Thus, SIRT1 appears to be a functional regulator of NF-?B-dependent STAT3 expression that induces mitochondrial biogenesis. These results have implications for understanding the interplay between STAT3 and SIRT1 in pro-inflammatory conditions.
Calorie restriction (CR) is known to have profound effects on tumor incidence. A typical consequence of CR is hunger, and we hypothesized that the neuroendocrine response to CR might in part mediate CRs antitumor effects. We tested CR under appetite suppression using two models: neuropeptide Y (NPY) knockout mice and monosodium glutamate-injected mice. While CR was protective in control mice challenged with a two-stage skin carcinogenesis model, papilloma development was neither delayed nor reduced by CR in the monosodium glutamate-treated and NPY knockout mice. Adiponectin levels were also not increased by CR in the appetite-suppressed mice. We propose that some of CRs beneficial effects cannot be separated from those imposed on appetite, and that NPY neurons in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus are involved in the translation of reduced intake to downstream physiological and functional benefits.
Multiple health benefits of calorie restriction (CR) and alternate day fasting (ADF) regimens are widely recognized. Experimental data concerning the effects of calorie restriction on cardiac health are more controversial, ranging from evidence that ADF protects heart from ischemic damage but results in developing of diastolic dysfunction, to reports that CR ameliorates the age-associated diastolic dysfunction. Here we investigated the effects of chronic CR on morphology and function of the cardiovascular system of aged rats and cardioprotective effect of CR against ischemic damage in the experimental rat model of MI. Cardiovascular fitness of 24-month old Fisher 344 rats maintained through life on ad libitum (AL) or CR diets was extensively evaluated via echocardiography, dobutamine stress test, pressure-volume loop analyses, pulse wave velocity measurements, and histology. Groups of 2-month old AL and 29-month old CR rats were studied for comparison. Myocardial infarction (MI) was induced by a permanent ligation of the anterior descending coronary artery in 5-month old rats maintained for 3 months on CR or AL. MI size was evaluated histologically 24 hrs following coronary ligation. Cardiac remodeling was followed-up via echocardiography. Age-associated changes in 24-month old rats consisted of 33% increase of fibrosis in the myocardium and more than 2 fold increase of the collagen in the tunica media of the aorta. There was a significant decrease in the density and total number of cardiomyocytes, while their size was increased. These morphological changes were manifested in a decline of systolic and diastolic cardiac function, increase of left ventricular and aortic stiffness, and arterio-ventricular uncoupling. Tachycardic response to dobutamine challenge was absent in the old rats. Compared to AL rats, 24-month old CR rats had reduced levels of cardiac and aortic fibrosis, increased density of cardiomyocytes that were smaller in size, attenuated diastolic dysfunction, normal systolic function and arterio-ventricular coupling. Tachycardic response to dobutamine was also intact in CR 24-month old rats and aortic stiffness was reduced. Adjustment for body weight differences through ratiometric or allometric scaling did not affect the overall pattern of differences between AL and CR rats. Attenuation of morphological and functional age-associated changes in 24-month old CR rats either was not observed at all or was smaller in 29-month old CR rats. Size of MI induced by a permanent coronary ligation as well as post-MI cardiac remodeling and function were similar in CR and AL rats. CR does not increase tolerance of myocardium to ischemic damage, but attenuates the age-associated changes in the heart and major vessels. The attenuation of age-associated changes by CR cannot be explained by the effect of lower body weight but are attributable to more intimate cellular mechanisms of CR itself. Attenuation of age-associated changes by CR waned with advancing age, and is consistent with the idea that CR postponed senescence.
Aging constitutes a major independent risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes and is accompanied by insulin resistance and adipose tissue dysfunction. One of the most important factors implicitly linked to aging and age-related chronic diseases is the accumulation of oxidative stress. However, the effect of increased oxidative stress on adipose tissue biology remains elusive. In this study, we demonstrate that aging in mice results in a loss of fat mass and the accumulation of oxidative stress in adipose tissue. In vitro, increased oxidative stress through glutathione depletion inhibits preadipocyte differentiation. This inhibition of adipogenesis is at least in part the result of reduced cell proliferation and an inhibition of G(1)?S-phase transition during the initial mitotic clonal expansion of the adipocyte differentiation process. While phosphorylation of the retinoblastoma protein (Rb) by cyclin/cdk complexes remains unaffected, oxidative stress decreases the expression of S-phase genes downstream of Rb. This silencing of S phase gene expression by increased oxidative stress is mediated through a transcriptional mechanism involving the inhibition of E2F recruitment and transactivation of its target promoters. Collectively, these data demonstrate a previously unrecognized role of oxidative stress in the regulation of adipogenesis which may contribute to age-associated adipose tissue dysfunction.
Mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress are thought to play important roles in mammalian aging. Resveratrol is a plant-derived polyphenol that exerts diverse antiaging activities, mimicking some of the molecular and functional effects of dietary restriction. This review focuses on the molecular mechanisms underlying the mitochondrial protective effects of resveratrol, which could be exploited for the prevention or amelioration of age-related diseases in the elderly.
Mutations in growth signaling pathways extend life span, as well as protect against age-dependent DNA damage in yeast and decrease insulin resistance and cancer in mice. To test their effect in humans, we monitored for 22 years Ecuadorian individuals who carry mutations in the growth hormone receptor (GHR) gene that lead to severe GHR and IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor-1) deficiencies. We combined this information with surveys to identify the cause and age of death for individuals in this community who died before this period. The individuals with GHR deficiency exhibited only one nonlethal malignancy and no cases of diabetes, in contrast to a prevalence of 17% for cancer and 5% for diabetes in control subjects. A possible explanation for the very low incidence of cancer was suggested by in vitro studies: Serum from subjects with GHR deficiency reduced DNA breaks but increased apoptosis in human mammary epithelial cells treated with hydrogen peroxide. Serum from GHR-deficient subjects also caused reduced expression of RAS, PKA (protein kinase A), and TOR (target of rapamycin) and up-regulation of SOD2 (superoxide dismutase 2) in treated cells, changes that promote cellular protection and life-span extension in model organisms. We also observed reduced insulin concentrations (1.4 ?U/ml versus 4.4 ?U/ml in unaffected relatives) and a very low HOMA-IR (homeostatic model assessment-insulin resistance) index (0.34 versus 0.96 in unaffected relatives) in individuals with GHR deficiency, indicating higher insulin sensitivity, which could explain the absence of diabetes in these subjects. These results provide evidence for a role of evolutionarily conserved pathways in the control of aging and disease burden in humans.
We investigated the effect of age-related pseudocapillarization of the liver sinusoidal endothelium on the hepatic disposition of acetaminophen. The multiple indicator dilution technique assessed the hepatic disposition of tracer (14)C-acetaminophen and reference markers in isolated perfused livers of young (n = 11) and old (n = 12) rats. Electron microscopy confirmed defenestration of the sinusoidal endothelium in old rats compared with young rats. Acetaminophen recovery following a single pass through the liver was significantly increased in old rats (0.64 ± 0.04, old; 0.59 ± 0.05, young; p < .05). In old age, there was significant reduction of the intercompartmental rate constant k(1) (0.34 ± 0.10 s(-1), old; 0.61 ± 0.38 s(-1), young; p < .05) and the permeability-surface area product for the transfer of acetaminophen across the sinusoidal endothelium (0.034 ± 0.006 mL/s/g, old; 0.048 ± 0.014 mL/s/g, young; p < .005). There was no difference in k(3), the measure of sequestration of acetaminophen that reflects enzyme activity. Age-related pseudocapillarization of the liver sinusoid resulted in increased acetaminophen recovery and decreased transfer of acetaminophen into the liver.
The plasma membrane redox system (PMRS) of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH)-related enzymes plays a key role in the maintenance of cellular energetics. During the aging process, neural cells are particularly sensitive to impaired energy metabolism and oxidative damage, but the involvement of the PMRS in these processes is unknown. Here, we used human neuroblastoma cells with either elevated or reduced levels of the PMRS enzyme NADH-quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) to investigate how the PMRS regulates neuronal stress responses. Cells with elevated NQO1 levels were more resistant to death induced by 2-deoxyglucose, potassium cyanide (energetic stress), and lactacystin (proteotoxic stress), but were not protected from being killed by H(2)O(2) and serum withdrawal. The NAD(+)(an oxidized form of NADH)/NADH ratio was maintained at a significantly higher level in cells overexpressing NQO1, consistent with enhanced levels of NQO1 activity. Levels of the neuroprotective transcription factors nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells and nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2, and the protein chaperone HSP70 were elevated in cells overexpressing NQO1. Cells in which NQO1 levels were decreased by RNA interference exhibited increased vulnerability to death induced by 2-deoxyglucose and lactacystin. Thus, a higher NAD(+)/NADH ratio and activation of adaptive stress response pathways are enhanced by the PMRS in neuroblastoma cells, enabling them to maintain redox homeostasis under conditions of energetic and proteotoxic stress. These findings have implications for the development of therapeutic interventions for neural tumors and neurodegenerative conditions.
Hyperglycemia in diabetes mellitus promotes oxidative stress in endothelial cells, which contributes to development of cardiovascular diseases. Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor-2 (Nrf2) is a transcription factor activated by oxidative stress that regulates expression of numerous reactive oxygen species (ROS) detoxifying and antioxidant genes. This study was designed to elucidate the homeostatic role of adaptive induction of Nrf2-driven free radical detoxification mechanisms in endothelial protection under diabetic conditions. Using a Nrf2/antioxidant response element (ARE)-driven luciferase reporter gene assay we found that in a cultured coronary arterial endothelial cell model hyperglycemia (10-30 mmol/l glucose) significantly increases transcriptional activity of Nrf2 and upregulates the expression of the Nrf2 target genes NQO1, GCLC, and HMOX1. These effects of high glucose were significantly attenuated by small interfering RNA (siRNA) downregulation of Nrf2 or overexpression of Keap-1, which inactivates Nrf2. High-glucose-induced upregulation of NQO1, GCLC, and HMOX1 was also prevented by pretreatment with polyethylene glycol (PEG)-catalase or N-acetylcysteine, whereas administration of H(2)O(2) mimicked the effect of high glucose. To test the effects of metabolic stress in vivo, Nrf2(+/+) and Nrf2(-/-) mice were fed a high-fat diet (HFD). HFD elicited significant increases in mRNA expression of Gclc and Hmox1 in aortas of Nrf2(+/+) mice, but not Nrf2(-/-) mice, compared with respective standard diet-fed control mice. Additionally, HFD-induced increases in vascular ROS levels were significantly greater in Nrf2(-/-) than Nrf2(+/+) mice. HFD-induced endothelial dysfunction was more severe in Nrf2(-/-) mice, as shown by the significantly diminished acetylcholine-induced relaxation of aorta of these animals compared with HFD-fed Nrf2(+/+) mice. Our results suggest that adaptive activation of the Nrf2/ARE pathway confers endothelial protection under diabetic conditions.
Nuclear factor E2-related factor-2 (Nrf2) transcription factor is one of the main regulators of intracellular redox balance and a sensor of oxidative and electrophilic stress. Low Nrf2 activity is usually associated with carcinogenesis, but Nrf2 is also considered as an oncogene because it increases survival of transformed cells. Because intracellular redox balance alterations are involved in both senescence and tumorigenesis, we investigated the impact of Nrf2 genetic deletion on cellular immortalization and life span of murine embryonic fibroblasts. We report that Nrf2 genetic deletion promotes immortalization due to an early loss of p53-dependent gene expression. However, compared with control cells, immortalized Nrf2-/- murine embryonic fibroblasts exhibited decreased growth, lower cyclin E levels, and impaired expression of NQO1 and cytochrome b? reductase. Moreover, SirT1 was also significantly reduced in immortalized Nrf2-/- murine embryonic fibroblasts, and these cells exhibited shorter life span. Our results underscore the dual role of Nrf2 in protection against carcinogenesis and in the delay of cellular aging.
Rapamycin was administered in food to genetically heterogeneous mice from the age of 9 months and produced significant increases in life span, including maximum life span, at each of three test sites. Median survival was extended by an average of 10% in males and 18% in females. Rapamycin attenuated age-associated decline in spontaneous activity in males but not in females. Causes of death were similar in control and rapamycin-treated mice. Resveratrol (at 300 and 1200 ppm food) and simvastatin (12 and 120 ppm) did not have significant effects on survival in male or female mice. Further evaluation of rapamycins effects on mice is likely to help delineate the role of the mammalian target of rapamycin complexes in the regulation of aging rate and age-dependent diseases and may help to guide a search for drugs that retard some or all of the diseases of aging.
Circulating factors that have an effect on SIRT1 expression are influenced by caloric restriction. To determine the association between frailty and such circulating factors, we measured serum-induced SIRT1 expression from a nested cohort of frail (n = 77) and robust (n = 82) participants from Concord Health and Ageing in Men Project, a population-based study of community-dwelling men older than 70 years. Serum-induced SIRT1 expression was not different between frail and robust men (103.1 ± 17.0 versus 100.4 ± 19.3 ?g/L). However, subsequent analyses showed that men with the lowest values (first quartile) were less likely to be frail (odds ratio = 0.5, 95% confidence interval = 0.2-1.0, p = .04) and had higher total body lean mass (p = .001) than the other participants. Serum-induced SIRT1 expression did not correlate with age, diseases, medications, albumin, fasting glucose, or lipids. Overall, there was no association between frailty and serum-induced SIRT1 expression; however, post hoc analysis suggested that there might be a paradoxical association between low serum-induced SIRT1 expression and robustness.
Conservation of normal cognitive functions relies on the proper performance of the nervous system at the cellular and molecular level. The mammalian nicotinamide-adenine dinucleotide-dependent deacetylase SIRT1 impacts different processes potentially involved in the maintenance of brain integrity, such as chromatin remodeling, DNA repair, cell survival, and neurogenesis. Here we show that SIRT1 is expressed in neurons of the hippocampus, a key structure in learning and memory. Using a combination of behavioral and electrophysiological paradigms, we analyzed the effects of SIRT1 deficiency and overexpression on mouse learning and memory as well as on synaptic plasticity. We demonstrated that the absence of SIRT1 impaired cognitive abilities, including immediate memory, classical conditioning, and spatial learning. In addition, we found that the cognitive deficits in SIRT1 knock-out (KO) mice were associated with defects in synaptic plasticity without alterations in basal synaptic transmission or NMDA receptor function. Brains of SIRT1-KO mice exhibited normal morphology and dendritic spine structure but displayed a decrease in dendritic branching, branch length, and complexity of neuronal dendritic arbors. Also, a decrease in extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 phosphorylation and altered expression of hippocampal genes involved in synaptic function, lipid metabolism, and myelination were detected in SIRT1-KO mice. In contrast, mice with high levels of SIRT1 expression in brain exhibited regular synaptic plasticity and memory. We conclude that SIRT1 is indispensable for normal learning, memory, and synaptic plasticity in mice.
This review focuses on molecular, cellular, and functional changes that occur in the vasculature during aging; explores the links between mitochondrial oxidative stress, inflammation, and development of vascular disease in the elderly patients; and provides a landscape of molecular mechanisms involved in cellular oxidative stress resistance, which could be targeted for the prevention or amelioration of unsuccessful vascular aging. Practical interventions for prevention of age-associated vascular dysfunction and disease in old age are considered here based on emerging knowledge of the effects of anti-inflammatory treatments, regular exercise, dietary interventions, and caloric restriction mimetics.
Epidemiological studies suggest that Mediterranean diets rich in resveratrol are associated with reduced risk of coronary artery disease. Resveratrol was also shown to confer vasoprotection in animal models of type 2 diabetes and aging. However, the mechanisms by which resveratrol exerts its antioxidative vasculoprotective effects are not completely understood. Using a nuclear factor-E(2)-related factor-2 (Nrf2)/antioxidant response element-driven luciferase reporter gene assay, we found that in cultured coronary arterial endothelial cells, resveratrol, in a dose-dependent manner, significantly increases transcriptional activity of Nrf2. Accordingly, resveratrol significantly upregulates the expression of the Nrf2 target genes NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1, gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase, and heme oxygenase-1. Resveratrol treatment also significantly attenuated high glucose (30 mM)-induced mitochondrial and cellular oxidative stress (assessed by flow cytometry using MitoSox and dihydroethidine staining). The aforementioned effects of resveratrol were significantly attenuated by the small interfering RNA downregulation of Nrf2 or the overexpression of Kelch-like erythroid cell-derived protein 1, which inactivates Nrf2. To test the effects of resveratrol in vivo, we used mice fed a high-fat diet (HFD), which exhibit increased vascular oxidative stress associated with an impaired endothelial function. In HFD-fed Nrf2(+/+) mice, resveratrol treatment attenuates oxidative stress (assessed by the Amplex red assay), improves acetylcholine-induced vasodilation, and inhibits apoptosis (assessed by measuring caspase-3 activity and DNA fragmentation) in branches of the femoral artery. In contrast, the aforementioned endothelial protective effects of resveratrol were diminished in HFD-fed Nrf2(-/-) mice. Taken together, our results indicate that resveratrol both in vitro and in vivo confers endothelial protective effects which are mediated by the activation of Nrf2.
The societal impact of obesity, diabetes, and other metabolic disorders continues to rise despite increasing evidence of their negative long-term consequences on health span, longevity, and aging. Unfortunately, dietary management and exercise frequently fail as remedies, underscoring the need for the development of alternative interventions to successfully treat metabolic disorders and enhance life span and health span. Using calorie restriction (CR)-which is well known to improve both health and longevity in controlled studies-as their benchmark, gerontologists are coming closer to identifying dietary and pharmacological therapies that may be applicable to aging humans. This review covers some of the more promising interventions targeted to affect pathways implicated in the aging process as well as variations on classical CR that may be better suited to human adaptation.
The RNA-binding protein HuR is highly abundant in many cancers. HuR expression was recently found to be repressed by microRNA miR-519, which potently lowered HuR translation without influencing HuR mRNA abundance. Here, we examined the levels of HuR and miR-519 in pairs of cancer and adjacent healthy tissues from ovary, lung, and kidney. In the three sample collections, the cancer specimens showed dramatically higher HuR levels, unchanged HuR mRNA concentrations, and markedly reduced miR-519 levels, when compared with healthy tissues. As tested using human cervical carcinoma cells, miR-519 reduced tumorigenesis in athymic mice. Compared with the tumors arising from control cells, cells overexpressing miR-519 formed significantly smaller tumors, while cells expressing reduced miR-519 levels gave rise to substantially larger tumors. Evidence that the miR-519-elicited reduction of HuR was critical for its tumor suppressor influence was obtained by reducing HuR, as HuR-silenced cells formed markedly smaller tumors and were unable to form large tumors even after lowering miR-519 abundance. Together, our data reveal that miR-519 inhibits tumorigenesis in large part by repressing HuR expression.
Membrane-associated oxidative stress has been implicated in the synaptic dysfunction and neuronal degeneration that occurs in Alzheimers disease (AD), but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. Enzymes of the plasma membrane redox system (PMRS) provide electrons for energy metabolism and recycling of antioxidants. Here, we show that activities of several PMRS enzymes are selectively decreased in plasma membranes from the hippocampus and cerebral cortex of 3xTgAD mice, an animal model of AD. Our results that indicate the decreased PMRS enzyme activities are associated with decreased levels of coenzyme Q(10) and increased levels of oxidative stress markers. Neurons overexpressing the PMRS enzymes (NQO1 or cytochrome b5 reductase) exhibit increased resistance to amyloid ?-peptide (A?). If and to what extent A? is the cause of the impaired PMRS enzymes in the 3xTgAD mice is unknown. Because these mice also express mutant tau and presenilin-1, it is possible that one or more of the PMRS could be adversely affected by these mutations. Nevertheless, the results of our cell culture studies clearly show that exposure of neurons to A?1-42 is sufficient to impair PMRS enzymes. The impairment of the PMRS in an animal model of AD, and the ability of PMRS enzyme activities to protect neurons against A?-toxicity, suggest enhancement PMRS function as a novel approach for protecting neurons against oxidative damage in AD and related disorders.
Aging results from a complex and not completely understood chain of processes that are associated with various negative metabolic consequences and ultimately leads to senescence and death. The intracellular ratio of pyridine nucleotides (NAD(+)/NADH), has been proposed to be at the center stage of age-related biochemical changes in organisms, and may help to explain the observed influence of calorie restriction and energy-sensitive proteins on lifespan in model organisms. Indeed, the NAD(+)/NADH ratios affect the activity of a number of proteins, including sirtuins, which have gained prominence in the aging field as potential mediators of the beneficial effects of calorie restriction and mediating lifespan. Here we review the activities of a redox enzyme (NQR1 in yeast and CYB5R3 in mammals) that also influences the NAD(+)/NADH ratio and may play a regulatory role that connects aerobic metabolism with aging.
Apyrimidinic/apurinic endonuclease (APE) is a key protein involved in the base-excision DNA repair (BER) pathway of oxidative DNA lesions. Using a novel oligonucleotide substrate, we demonstrate that APE activity in the frontal/parietal cortex (F/PCTX), cerebellum, brainstem, midbrain and hypothalamus declined with age in rats on an ad libitum (AL) diet. In contrast, APE activity for these brain regions was approximately 1.5-3 times higher in young, caloric restricted (CR) rats. Despite continuous CR treatment in all animals since six weeks of age, APE activity in the CR group started to decline by middle-age and continued into old age. However, CR maintained APE activity at a level that was significantly higher than that in AL rats across age and in the brain regions examined. Because Western analysis of APE, DNA polymerase beta and DNA ligase III levels in the F/PCTX of both CR and AL rats remained unchanged with age, this suggests that the increased APE activity in CR rats is the result of differential post-translational modification of APE.
The present study examined brain and liver derived proteasome complexes to elucidate if there is a differential susceptibility in proteasome complexes from these tissues to undergo inactivation following exposure to oxidative stressors. It then examined the influence of ageing and dietary restriction (DR) on the observed proteasome inactivation. Studies used a filtration based methodology that allows for enrichment of proteasome complexes with less tissue than is required for traditional chromatography procedures. The results indicate that the brain has much lower levels of overall proteasome activity and exhibits increased sensitivity to hydrogen peroxide mediated inactivation as compared to proteasome complexes derived from the liver. Interestingly, the brain proteasome complexes did not appear to have increased susceptibility to 4-hydroxynonenal (HNE)-induced inactivation. Surprisingly, ageing and DR induced minimal effects on oxidative stress mediated proteasome inhibition. These results indicate that the brain not only has lower levels of proteasome activity compared to the liver, but is also more susceptible to inactivation following exposure to some (but certainly not all) oxidative stressors. This data also suggest that ageing and DR may not significantly modulate the resistance of the proteasome to inactivation in some experimental settings.
Proliferation of pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells, endothelial dysfunction, oxidative stress, and inflammation promotes the development of pulmonary hypertension. Resveratrol is a polyphenolic compound that exerts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protective effects in the systemic circulation, but its effects on pulmonary arteries remain poorly defined. The present study was undertaken to investigate the efficacy of resveratrol to prevent pulmonary hypertension. Rats injected with monocrotaline progressively developed pulmonary hypertension. Resveratrol treatment (25 mg/kg per day, PO, from day 1 postmonocrotaline) attenuated right ventricular systolic pressure and pulmonary arterial remodeling, decreased expression of inflammatory cytokines (tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin 1beta, interleukin 6, and platelet-derived growth factor-alpha/beta), and limited leukocyte infiltration in the lung. Resveratrol also inhibited proliferation of pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells. Treatment of rats with resveratrol increased expression of endothelial NO synthase, decreased oxidative stress, and improved endothelial function in small pulmonary arteries. Pulmonary hypertension was associated with an upregulation of NAD(P)H oxidase in small pulmonary arteries, which was significantly attenuated by resveratrol treatment. Our studies show that resveratrol exerts anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiproliferative effects in the pulmonary arteries, which may contribute to the prevention of pulmonary hypertension.
SIRT1 is a NAD-dependent deacetylase that regulates a variety of pathways including the stress protection pathway. SIRT1 deacetylates a number of protein substrates, including histones, FOXOs, PGC-1alpha, and p53, leading to cellular protection. We identified a functional interaction between cJUN N-terminal kinase (JNK1) and SIRT1 by coimmunoprecipitation of endogenous proteins. The interaction between JNK1 and SIRT1 was identified under conditions of oxidative stress and required activation of JNK1 via phosphorylation. Modulation of SIRT1 activity or protein levels using nicotinamide or RNAi did not modify JNK1 activity as measured by its ability to phosphorylate cJUN. In contrast, human SIRT1 was phosphorylated by JNK1 on three sites: Ser27, Ser47, and Thr530 and this phosphorylation of SIRT1 increased its nuclear localization and enzymatic activity. Surprisingly, JNK1 phosphorylation of SIRT1 showed substrate specificity resulting in deacetylation of histone H3, but not p53. These findings identify a mechanism for regulation of SIRT1 enzymatic activity in response to oxidative stress and shed new light on its role in the stress protection pathway.
Calorie restriction (CR), the purposeful reduction of energy intake with maintenance of adequate micronutrient intake, is well known to extend the lifespan of laboratory animals. Compounds like 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2DG) that can recapitulate the metabolic effects of CR are of great interest for their potential to extend lifespan. 2DG treatment has been shown to have potential therapeutic benefits for treating cancer and seizures. 2DG has also recapitulated some hallmarks of the CR phenotype including reduced body temperature and circulating insulin in short-term rodent trials, but one chronic feeding study in rats found toxic effects. The present studies were performed to further explore the long-term effects of 2DG in vivo. First we demonstrate that 2DG increases mortality of male Fischer-344 rats. Increased incidence of pheochromocytoma in the adrenal medulla was also noted in the 2DG treated rats. We reconfirm the cardiotoxicity of 2DG in a 6-week follow-up study evaluating male Brown Norway rats and a natural form of 2DG in addition to again examining effects in Fischer-344 rats and the original synthetic 2DG. High levels of both 2DG sources reduced weight gain secondary to reduced food intake in both strains. Histopathological analysis of the hearts revealed increasing vacuolization of cardiac myocytes with dose, and tissue staining revealed the vacuoles were free of both glycogen and lipid. We did, however, observe higher expression of both cathepsin D and LC3 in the hearts of 2DG-treated rats which indicates an increase in autophagic flux. Although a remarkable CR-like phenotype can be reproduced with 2DG treatment, the ultimate toxicity of 2DG seriously challenges 2DG as a potential CR mimetic in mammals and also raises concerns about other therapeutic applications of the compound.
Pathways that regulate mitochondrial biogenesis are potential therapeutic targets for the amelioration of endothelial dysfunction and vascular disease. Resveratrol was shown to impact mitochondrial function in skeletal muscle and the liver, but its role in mitochondrial biogenesis in endothelial cells remains poorly defined. The present study determined whether resveratrol induces mitochondrial biogenesis in cultured human coronary arterial endothelial cells (CAECs). In CAECs resveratrol increased mitochondrial mass and mitochondrial DNA content, upregulated protein expression of electron transport chain constituents, and induced mitochondrial biogenesis factors (proliferator-activated receptor-coactivator-1alpha, nuclear respiratory factor-1, mitochondrial transcription factor A). Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) was induced, and endothelial nitric oxide (NO) synthase (eNOS) was upregulated in a SIRT1-dependent manner. Knockdown of SIRT1 (small interfering RNA) or inhibition of NO synthesis prevented resveratrol-induced mitochondrial biogenesis. In aortas of type 2 diabetic (db/db) mice impaired mitochondrial biogenesis was normalized by chronic resveratrol treatment, showing the in vivo relevance of our findings. Resveratrol increases mitochondrial content in endothelial cells via activating SIRT1. We propose that SIRT1, via a pathway that involves the upregulation of eNOS, induces mitochondrial biogenesis. Resveratrol induced mitochondrial biogenesis in the aortas of type 2 diabetic mice, suggesting the potential for new treatment approaches targeting endothelial mitochondria in metabolic diseases.
Faced with changing food availability, organisms adapt metabolism to survive. In a recent issue of Cell, Lin et al. (2009) described the acetylation of an extranuclear enzyme being regulated by acetyl-CoA. This finding connects nutrient availability, energy status, and survival.
Laboratory studies consistently demonstrate extended lifespan in animals on calorie restriction (CR), where total caloric intake is reduced by 10-40% but adequate nutrition is otherwise maintained. CR has been further shown to delay the onset and severity of chronic diseases associated with aging such as cancer, and to extend the functional health span of important faculties like cognition. Less understood are the underlying mechanisms through which CR might act to induce such alterations. One theory postulates that CRs beneficial effects are intimately tied to the neuroendocrine response to low energy availability, of which the arcuate nucleus in the hypothalamus plays a pivotal role. Neuropeptide Y (NPY), a neurotransmitter in the front line of the arcuate response to low energy availability, is the primary hunger signal affected by CR and therefore may be a critical mechanism for lifespan extension.
Calorie restriction (CR) is a non-genetic manipulation that reliably results in extended lifespan of several species ranging from yeast to dogs. The lifespan extension effect of CR has been strongly associated with an increased level and activation of the silent information regulator 2 (Sir2) histone deacetylase and its mammalian ortholog Sirt1. This association led to the search for potential Sirt1-activating, life-extending molecules. This review briefly outlines the experimental findings on resveratrol and other dietary activators of Sirt1.
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