The present systematic review is based on the premise that a variety of neurodegenerative diseases are accompanied by grey matter atrophy in the brain and meditation may impact this. Given that age is a major risk factor for many of these progressive and neurodegenerative diseases and that the percentage of the population over the age of 65 is quickly increasing, there is an obvious need for prompt treatment and prevention advances in research.
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD(+)) is both a coenzyme for hydride-transfer enzymes and a substrate for NAD(+)-consuming enzymes, which include ADP-ribose transferases, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases, cADP-ribose synthases and sirtuins. Recent results establish protective roles for NAD(+) that might be applicable therapeutically to prevent neurodegenerative conditions and to fight Candida glabrata infection.
SIRT1 is the mammalian homologue of yeast silent information regulator (Sir)-2, a member of the sirtuin family of protein deacetylases which have gained much attention as mediators of lifespan extension in several model organisms. Induction of SIRT1 expression also attenuates neuronal degeneration and death in animal models of Alzheimer's disease and Huntington's disease. SIRT1 induction, either by sirtuin activators such as resveratrol, or metabolic conditioning associated with caloric restriction (CR), could be neuroprotective in several ways.
The nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)-activated protein deacetylase Sir2p/Sirt1 has been strongly implicated in the modulation of replicative lifespan and promotion of longevity. Part of Sirt1's capacity for lifespan extension in complex organisms may be attributed to its protective activity against neuronal degeneration. Manipulation of Sirt1's activity or levels by pharmacological and genetic means in several models of neurodegenerative diseases demonstrated its neuroprotective credentials.
TOR (target of rapamycin) is a serine-threonine protein kinase that is conserved across a diverse range of species from fungi to mammals. The signaling pathway that is anchored by TOR is also conserved across species. In mammals, mTOR integrates growth factor, amino acid, nutrient and energy sensing signals, and thus plays a major role in cell growth and proliferation, protein synthesis and autophagy.
Sir2 ? Sirt1 and its orthologues are known lifespan extension factors in several aging models from yeast to invertebrates. Sirt1 activation is also known to be beneficial and protective in both invertebrate and mammalian models of neurodegenerative disease. Sirt1ís lifespan extension effect, as well as the beneficial outcome of its activation in models of aging-associated diseases, is often attributed to its ability to instill a gene expression profile that is pro-survival and antiaging.
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.
BACKGROUND: The transcription factor nuclear factor-erythroid-derived 2-like 2 (official symbol: NFE2L2, alias: Nrf2) is a master regulator of antioxidant defense system, which makes it an attractive target for manipulations that aim to increase cellular resistance to oxidative stress.
Understanding mechanisms underlying longevity, and endeavor towards the specific goals of alleviating frailty in old age, require a comprehensive approach that considers the various theoretical and experimental approaches, as well as compiling the data on humans. This logistic has underlined the program of the conference, and is reflected in the present special issue. Considerable volume of data now point to distinct genes that are associated with exceptional longevity in humans, as reflected from the articles in this volume.
An increasing number of genes required for mitochondrial biogenesis, dynamics, or function have been found to be mutated in metabolic disorders and neurological diseases such as Leigh Syndrome. In a forward genetic screen to identify genes required for neuronal function and survival in Drosophila photoreceptor neurons, we have identified mutations in the mitochondrial methionyl-tRNA synthetase, Aats-met, the homologue of human MARS2. The fly mutants exhibit age-dependent degeneration of photoreceptors, shortened lifespan, and reduced cell proliferation in epithelial tissues.