Aging is a universal biological phenomenon in eukaryotes, but why and how we age still remain mysterious. It would be of great biological interest and practical importance if we could uncover the molecular mechanism of aging, and find a way to delay the aging process while maintaining physical and mental strengths of youth. Histone deacetylases (HDACs) such as SIR2 and RPD3 are known to be involved in the extension of lifespan in yeast and Caenorhabditis elegans.
Members of the sirtuin family including the founding protein Sir2 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae have been linked to lifespan extension in simple organisms. This finding prompted evaluation of the role of Sir2 orthologues in many aging-associated conditions including neurodegeneration, type II diabetes and cancer.
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is the leading genetic cause of early childhood death worldwide and no therapy is available today. Many drugs, especially histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi), increase SMN levels. As all HDACi tested so far only mildly ameliorate the SMA phenotype or are unsuitable for use in humans, there is still need to identify more potent drugs. Here, we assessed the therapeutic power of the pan-HDACi JNJ-26481585 for SMA, which is currently used in various clinical cancer trials.
Sirtuins are NAD-dependent protein deacetylases known to have protective effects against age-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. In mammals, there are seven sirtuins (SIRT1-7), which display diversity in subcellular localization and function. While SIRT1 has been extensively investigated due to its initial connection with lifespan extension and involvement in calorie restriction, important biological and therapeutic roles of other sirtuins have only recently been recognized.
We tested the effects of a Class I histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDAcI), sodium butyrate (NaBu), on the longevity of normal- and long-lived strains of Drosophila melanogaster. This HDAcI has mixed effects in the normal-lived Ra strain as it decreases mortality rates and increases longevity when administered in the transition or senescent spans, but decreases longevity when administered over the health span only or over the entire adult lifespan. Mostly deleterious effects are noted when administered by either method to the long-lived La strain.
Children conceived by assisted reproductive technologies (ART) display a level of vascular dysfunction similar to that seen in children of mothers with preeclamspia. The long-term consequences of ART-associated vascular disorders are unknown and difficult to investigate in healthy children. Here, we found that vasculature from mice generated by ART display endothelial dysfunction and increased stiffness, which translated into arterial hypertension in vivo. Progeny of male ART mice also exhibited vascular dysfunction, suggesting underlying epigenetic modifications.
Reln mRNA and protein levels are reduced by approximately 50% in various cortical structures of post-mortem brain from patients diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar illness with psychosis. To study mechanisms responsible for this down-regulation, we have analyzed the promoter of the human reelin gene. We show that the reelin promoter directs expression of a reporter construct in multiple human cell types: neuroblastoma cells (SHSY5Y), neuronal precursor cells (NT2), differentiated neurons (hNT) and hepatoma cells (HepG2).
Epigenetics is a new development in complex non-Mendelian disease, which may not only uncover etiologic and pathogenic mechanisms but may also provide the basis for the development of medications that would target the primary epigenetic causes of such diseases. Such epigenetic drugs would be novel, potentially possessing substantially higher therapeutic potential and a much lower rate of adverse effects in comparison to current symptomatic treatments.
Epigenetic chromatin remodeling and modifications of DNA represent central mechanisms for regulation of gene expression during brain development and in memory formation. Emerging evidence implicates epigenetic modifications in disorders of synaptic plasticity and cognition.
The Journal of Neuroscience: The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
It is becoming increasingly clear that epigenetic modifications are critical factors in the regulation of gene expression. With regard to the nervous system, epigenetic alterations play a role in a diverse set of processes and have been implicated in a variety of disorders. Gaining a more complete understanding of the essential components and underlying mechanisms involved in epigenetic regulation could lead to novel treatments for a number of neurological and psychiatric conditions.