Aging is characterized by a progressive decline of cellular functions. The aging liver appears to preserve its function relatively well. Aging is associated in human liver with morphological changes such as decrease in size attributable to decreased hepatic blood flow. Ultrastructural analysis of the human liver has revealed that the integrity of mitochondria and enzymatic activity remain mostly unchanged with aging. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are involved in the aging process and result mainly from nonenzymatic processes in the liver.
It is widely held that caloric restriction (CR) extends lifespan by preventing or reducing the age-related accumulation of irreversible molecular damage. In contrast, our results suggest that CR can act rapidly to begin life and health span extension, and that its rapid genomic effects are closely linked to its health effects. We found that CR begins to extend lifespan and reduce cancer as a cause of death within 8 weeks in older mice, apparently by reducing the rate of tumor growth.
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.
This annual review focuses on invertebrate model organisms, which shed light on new mechanisms in aging and provide excellent systems for both genome-wide and in-depth analysis. This year, protein interaction networks have been used in a new bioinformatic approach to identify novel genes that extend replicative lifespan in yeast. In an extended approach, using a new, human protein interaction network, information from the invertebrates was used to identify new, candidate genes for lifespan extension and their orthologues were validated in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.
Caloric restriction (CR), reduced protein, methionine, or tryptophan diets; and reduced insulin and/or IGFI intracellular signaling can extend mean and/or maximum lifespan and delay deleterious age-related physiological changes in animals. Mice and flies can shift readily between the control and CR physiological states, even at older ages. Many health benefits are induced by even brief periods of CR in flies, rodents, monkeys, and humans. In humans and nonhuman primates, CR produces most of the physiologic, hematologic, hormonal, and biochemical changes it produces in other animals.
Dietary restriction (DR) is a robust nongenetic, nonpharmacological intervention that is known to increase active and healthy lifespan in a variety of species. Despite a variety of differences in the protocols and the way DR is carried out in different species, conserved relationships are emerging among multiple species. 2009 saw the field of DR mature with important mechanistic insights from multiple species. A report of lifespan extension in rapamycin-treated mice suggested that the TOR pathway, a conserved mediator of DR in invertebrates, may also be critical to DR effects in mammals.
Dietary restriction (DR) delays or prevents age-related diseases and extends lifespan in species ranging from yeast to primates. Although the applicability of this regimen to humans remains uncertain, a proportional response would add more healthy years to the average life than even a cure for cancer or heart disease. Because it is unlikely that many would be willing or able to maintain a DR lifestyle, there has been intense interest in mimicking its beneficial effects on health, and potentially longevity, with drugs.
Dietary restriction extends lifespan in many organisms, but little is known about how it affects hematophagous arthropods. We demonstrated that diet restriction during either larval or adult stages extends Aedes aegypti lifespan. A. aegypti females fed either single or no blood meals survived 30-40% longer than those given weekly blood meals. However, mosquitoes given weekly blood meals produced far more eggs.
Longevity can be explained by the free radical theory of aging, and caloric restriction (CR) studies showed that CR-induced lifespan extension is associated with the prevention of a decrease in oxidative stress. Non-enzymatic lipophilic antioxidants may play a pivotal role in our aging process, and are reflected in our dietary lifestyle and dietary supplementation. Their significance lies in their general good absorption and slow excretion within our body.
An emerging central concept in evolutionary biology suggests that symbiosis is a universal characteristic of living organisms that can help in understanding complex traits and phenotypes. During evolution, an integrative circuitry fundamental for survival has been established between commensal gut microbiota and host. On the basis of recent knowledge in worms, flies, and humans, an important role of the gut microbiota in aging and longevity is emerging.