Constitutive autophagy is important for the control of the quality of proteins and organelles to maintain cell function. Damaged proteins and organelles accumulate in aged organs. The level of autophagic activity decreases with aging. Autophagic activity is regulated by many factors, such as the insulin receptor-signaling pathway, the TOR pathway, Sirt1, and caloric restriction. Autophagy-related genes are known to be essential for the lifespan extension of flies, nematodes, and mice.
There is considerable interest in identifying small, drug-like compounds that slow aging in multiple species, particularly in mammals. Such compounds may prove to be useful in treating and retarding age-related disease in humans. Just as invertebrate models have been essential in helping us understand the genetic pathways that control aging, these model organisms are also proving valuable in discovering chemical compounds that influence longevity.
DNA methylation patterns change as individuals grow older, and DNA methylation appears susceptible to modification by the diet. Thus DNA methylation may be a mechanism through which diet can affect aging and longevity. We propose that effects on DNA methylation also contribute to the extension in lifespan observed in response to dietary restriction. Relationships between diet-induced changes in DNA methylation and parallel effects on aging and/or lifespan could, of course, be purely associative.
Caloric restriction, that is limiting food intake, is recognized in mammals as the best characterized and most reproducible strategy for extending lifespan, retarding physiological aging and delaying the onset of age-associated diseases. The aim of this mini review is to argue that p53 is the connection in the abilities of both the Sirt-1 pathway and the TOR pathway to impact on longevity of cells and organisms.
The extension of both median and maximum lifespan and the suppression of age-related diseases in laboratory animals by reduced food intake, i.e., calorie restriction (CR) are regarded as hallmarks of CR's anti-aging action. The diverse efficacy of CR to counteract aging effects and its experimental reproducibility has made it the gold standard of many aging intervention studies of recent years.
Caloric restriction (CR), a reduction of food intake while avoiding malnutrition, can delay the onset of cancer and age-related diseases in several species, including mice. In addition, depending of the genetic background, CR can also increase or decrease mouse longevity. This has highlighted the importance of identifying the molecular pathways that interplay with CR in modulating longevity. Significant lifespan extension in mice has been recently achieved through over-expression of the catalytic subunit of mouse telomerase (mTERT) in a cancer protective background.
Caloric restriction prolongs the lifespan of many species. Therefore, investigators have researched the usefulness of caloric restriction for healthy lifespan extension. Sirt1, an NAD(+)-dependent deacetylase, was identified as a molecule necessary for caloric restriction-related anti-aging strategies. Sirt1 functions as an intracellular energy sensor to detect the concentration of NAD(+), and controls in vivo metabolic changes under caloric restriction and starvation through its deacetylase activity to many targets including histones, nuclear transcriptional factors, and enzymes.
Studies in mammals have led to the suggestion that hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia are important factors in aging. GH/Insulin/insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) signaling molecules that have been linked to longevity include daf-2 and InR and their homologues in mammals, and inactivation of the corresponding genes increases lifespan in nematodes, fruit flies and mice. The life-prolonging effects of caloric restriction are likely related to decreasing IGF-1 levels. Evidence has emerged that antidiabetic drugs are promising candidates for both lifespan extension and prevention of cancer.
Caloric restriction (CR) has been extensively documented for its profound role in effectively extending maximum lifespan in many different species. However, the accurate mechanisms, especially at the cellular level, for CR-induced aging delay are still under intense investigation. An emerging technique, recently explored in our laboratory, provides precisely controllable caloric intake in a cultured cellular system that allows real-time observation and quantitative analysis of the impact of CR on the molecular cellular level during the aging processes.
Ames dwarf (Prop1 (df/df) ) mice are remarkably long-lived and exhibit many characteristics of delayed aging and extended healthspan. Caloric restriction (CR) has similar effects on healthspan and lifespan, and causes an extension of longevity in Ames dwarf mice. Our study objective was to determine whether Ames dwarfism or CR influence neuromusculoskeletal function in middle-aged (82 ± 12 weeks old) or old (128 ± 14 w.o.) mice.