SIGNIFICANCE: Mitochondrial function plays an important role in metabolic homeostasis and has been implicated in aging. Although there is still ongoing debate regarding whether mitochondrion-derived oxidative stress is causative to the aging process, interventions that increase oxidative metabolism and antioxidant pathways in animal models protect against age-related deterioration, such as metabolic diseases and neurodegenerative disorders.
Hormesis in ageing is probably represented by mild stress-induced stimulation of protective mechanisms in cells and organisms resulting in biologically beneficial effects. Mild stress and hormetins may act on bifurcation points in the complex network of cell signaling and transcription factors, often turning homeodynamics to health or survival. Several signaling pathways activated by diverse stimuli and by stress response converge on NF-?B activation, resulting in a regulatory system characterized by high complexity.
The mechanisms that concern DNA repair have been studied in the last years due to their consequences in cellular homeostasis. The diverse and damaging stimuli that affect DNA integrity, such as changes in the genetic sequence and modifications in gene expression, can disrupt the steady state of the cell and have serious repercussions to pathways that regulate apoptosis, senescence, and cancer. These altered pathways not only modify cellular and organism longevity, but quality of life ("health-span").
MicroRNAs are short, 19-24 nucleotide long, RNA molecules capable of regulating the longevity and, to a lesser extent, translation of messenger RNA (mRNA) species. The function of the microRNA network, and indeed, even that of individual microRNA species, can have profoundly different roles in even a single cell type as the microRNA/mRNA composition evolves. As the role of microRNA within T cells has come under increasing scrutiny, several distinct checkpoints have been demonstrated to have a particular reliance on microRNA regulation.
Lifespan of C. elegans is affected by the nervous system; however, the underlying neural integration still remains unclear. In this work, we targeted an antagonistic neural system consisting of low-oxygen sensing BAG neurons and high-oxygen sensing URX neurons. While ablation of BAG neurons increases lifespan of C. elegans, ablation of URX neurons decreases lifespan. Genetic analysis revealed that BAG and URX neurons counterbalance each other via different guanylate cyclases (GCYs) to control lifespan balance.
Besides synthesizing nutritive substances (proteins, fats and carbohydrates) for energy and growth, plants produce numerous non-energetic so-called secondary metabolites (mainly polyphenols) that allow them to protect themselves against infections and other types of hostile environments. Interestingly, these polyphenols often provide cells with valuable bioactive properties for the maintenance of their functions and homeostasis (signaling, gene regulation, protection against acquired or infectious diseases, etc.) both in humans and animals.
Studies in humans and in animal models show negative correlations between thyroid hormone (TH) levels and longevity. TH signaling is implicated in maintaining and integrating metabolic homeostasis at multiple levels, notably centrally in the hypothalamus but also in peripheral tissues. The question is thus raised of how TH signaling is modulated during aging in different tissues. Classically, TH actions on mitochondria and heat production are obvious candidates to link negative effects of TH to aging.
Coordinated expression of mitochondrial and nuclear genes is required to maintain proper mitochondrial function. However, the precise mechanisms that ensure this coordination are not well defined. We find that signaling from mitochondria to the nucleus is influenced by mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) activity via changes in autophagy and p62/SQSTM1 turnover. Reducing mTOR activity increases autophagic flux, enhances mitochondrial membrane potential, reduces reactive oxygen species within the cell, and increases replicative life span.
Most neurons are born with the potential to live for the entire lifespan of the organism. In addition, neurons are highly polarized cells with often long axons, extensively branched dendritic trees and many synaptic contacts. Longevity together with morphological complexity results in a formidable challenge to maintain synapses healthy and functional. This challenge is often evoked to explain adult-onset degeneration in numerous neurodegenerative disorders that result from otherwise divergent causes.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The purpose of this review is to highlight recent studies on mammalian sirtuins that coordinately regulate cellular metabolic homeostasis upon fasting and to summarize the beneficial effects of fasting on carcinogenesis and cancer therapy. RECENT FINDINGS: Recent studies have demonstrated that fasting may protect normal cells and mice from the metabolic conditions that are harmful as well as decrease the incidence of carcinogenesis. Fasting could also slow the tumor growth and augment the efficacy of certain systemic agents/chemotherapy drugs in various cancers.