BACKGROUND: Dysfunctions in the serotonergic system have been implicated in several neurological disorders such as depression. Elderly individuals who have been diagnosed with clinical depression show elevated cases of neurodegenerative diseases. This has led to suggestions that modulating the serotonin (5-HT) system could provide an alternative method to current therapies for alleviating these pathologies. The neuroprotective effects of bilobalide in vitro have been documented. We aim to determine whether bilobalide affects the 5-HT system in the nematode C. elegans.
Metformin, a biguanide drug commonly used to treat type-2 diabetes, has been noted to extend healthspan of nondiabetic mice, but this outcome, and the molecular mechanisms that underlie it, have received relatively little experimental attention. To develop a genetic model for study of biguanide effects on healthspan, we investigated metformin impact on aging Caenorhabditis elegans. We found that metformin increases nematode healthspan, slowing lipofuscin accumulation, extending median lifespan, and prolonging youthful locomotory ability in a dose-dependent manner.
BACKGROUND: Proving the efficacy and corresponding mode of action of herbal supplements is a difficult challenge for evidence-based herbal therapy. A major hurdle is the complexity of herbal preparations, many of which combine multiple herbs, particularly when the combination is assumed to be vitally important to the effectiveness of the herbal therapy. This issue may be addressed through the use of contemporary methodology and validated animal models.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder and is the most common form of dementia in elderly people. The accumulation of amyloid beta (Abeta) is one of the histopathological hallmarks of AD. Abeta is aggregated to form oligomers which are toxic to neurons and are critical to the onset and progression of AD. In a Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) model of AD, human Abeta is expressed intracellularly in the body wall muscle. The expression and subsequent aggregation of Abeta in the muscle lead to progressive paralysis.
Abnormalities in insulin/IGF-1 signaling are associated with infertility, but the molecular mechanisms are not well understood. Here we use liquid chromatography with electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry to show that the C. elegans insulin/FOXO pathway regulates the metabolism of locally acting lipid hormones called prostaglandins. C. elegans prostaglandins are synthesized without prostaglandin G/H synthase homologs, the targets of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Intermittent fasting is one of the most effective dietary restriction regimens that extend life span in C. elegans and mammals. Fasting-stimulus responses are key to the longevity response; however, the mechanisms that sense and transduce the fasting stimulus remain largely unknown. Through a comprehensive transcriptome analysis in C. elegans, we find that along with the FOXO transcription factor DAF-16, AP-1 (JUN-1/FOS-1) plays a central role in fasting-induced transcriptional changes. KGB-1, one of the C. elegans JNKs, acts as an activator of AP-1 and is activated in response to fasting.
A C. elegans neurosecretory signaling system regulates whether animals enter the reproductive life cycle or arrest development at the long-lived dauer diapause stage. daf-2, a key gene in the genetic pathway that mediates this endocrine signaling, encodes an insulin receptor family member. Decreases in DAF-2 signaling induce metabolic and developmental changes, as in mammalian metabolic control by the insulin receptor. Decreased DAF-2 signaling also causes an increase in life-span.
Evolutionary models of aging propose that a trade-off exists between the resources an organism devotes to reproduction and growth and those devoted to cellular maintenance and repair, such that an optimal life history always entails an imperfect ability to resist stress. Yet, since environmental stressors, such as caloric restriction or exposure to mild stress, can increase stress resistance and life span, it is possible that a common genetic mechanism could regulate the allocation of resources in response to a changing environment (for overview, see ).
We have cloned and functionally characterized two Na(+)-coupled dicarboxylate transporters, namely ceNaDC1 and ceNaDC2, from Caenorhabditis elegans. These two transporters show significant sequence homology with the product of the Indy gene identified in Drosophila melanogaster and with the Na(+)-coupled dicarboxylate transporters NaDC1 and NaDC3 identified in mammals. In a mammalian cell heterologous expression system, the cloned ceNaDC1 and ceNaDC2 mediate Na(+)-coupled transport of various dicarboxylates.
Na+/H+ exchangers are involved in cell volume regulation, fluid secretion and absorption, and pH homeostasis. NHX-2 is a Caenorhabditis elegans Na+/H+ exchanger expressed exclusively at the apical membrane of intestinal epithelial cells. The inactivation of various intestinal nutrient transport proteins has been shown previously to influence aging via metabolic potential and a mechanism resembling caloric restriction. We report here a functional coupling of NHX-2 activity with nutrient uptake that results in long lived worms.