Dietary restriction is a powerful aging intervention that extends the life span of diverse biological species ranging from yeast to invertebrates to mammals, and it has been argued that the anti-aging action of dietary restriction occurs through reduced oxidative stress/damage. Using Sod1−/− mice, which have previously been shown to have increased levels of oxidative stress associated with a shorter life span and a high incidence of neoplasia, we were able to test directly the ability of dietary restriction to reverse an aging phenotype due to increased oxidative stress/damage. We found that dietary restriction increased the life span of Sod1−/− mice 30%, returning it to that of wild type, control mice fed ad libitum. Oxidative damage in Sod1−/− mice was markedly reduced by dietary restriction, as indicated by a reduction in liver and brain F2-isoprostanes, a marker of lipid peroxidation. Analysis of end of life pathology showed that dietary restriction significantly reduced the overall incidence of pathological lesions in the Sod1−/− mice fed the dietary restricted-diet compared to Sod1−/− mice fed ad libitum, including the incidence of lymphoma (27 vs 5%) and overall liver pathology. In addition to reduced incidence of overall and liver specific pathology, the burden and severity of both neoplastic and non-neoplastic lesions was also significantly reduced in the Sod1−/− mice fed the dietary restricted-diet. These data demonstrate that dietary restriction can significantly attenuate the accelerated aging phenotype observed in Sod1−/− mice that arises from increased oxidative stress/damage.
dietary restriction; aging oxidative stress; CuZnSOD
Unintentional weight loss (wasting) in the elderly is a major health concern as it leads to increased mortality. Several studies have focused on muscle loss, but little is known about the mechanisms giving rise to loss of fat mass at old ages. To investigate potential mechanisms, white adipose tissue (WAT) characteristics and proteomic profiles were compared between adult (10–12-month-old) and aged (22–24-month-old) wild-type mice. Four individual WAT depots were analyzed to account for possible depot-specific differences. Proteomic profiles of WAT depots, along with body weights and compositions, plasma levels of insulin, leptin and adiponectin, insulin tolerance, adipocyte sizes, and products of oxidative damage in each WAT depot were determined. We found that lean mass remained constant while fat mass and insulin tolerance were decreased in old age, as were adipocyte sizes in the WAT depots. Proteomic results showed increased levels of enolase, pyruvate dehydrogenase E1β, NAD+−dependent isocitrate dehydrogenase α, and ATP synthase subunit β, and decreased levels of carbonic anhydrase 3 in WAT of aged mice. These data suggest increased aerobic glucose oxidation in wasting WAT, consistent with decreased insulin signaling. Also, Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase and two chaperones were increased in aged WAT depots, indicating higher stress resistance. In agreement, lipid peroxidation (HNE-His adducts) increased in old age, although protein oxidation (carbonyl groups) showed no increase. In conclusion, features of wasting WAT were similar in the four depots, including decreased adipocyte sizes and alterations in protein expression profiles that indicated decreased insulin sensitivity and increased lipid peroxidation.
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Wasting; Aging; White adipose tissue depots; Proteomics; Oxidative damage; Stress resistance; Insulin resistance
Chronic treatment of mice with an enterically released formulation of rapamycin (eRapa) extends median and maximum life span, partly by attenuating cancer. The mechanistic basis of this response is not known. To gain a better understanding of these in vivo effects, we used a defined preclinical model of neuroendocrine cancer, Rb1+/− mice. Previous results showed that diet restriction (DR) had minimal or no effect on the lifespan of Rb1+/− mice, suggesting that the beneficial response to DR is dependent on pRb1. Since long-term eRapa treatment may at least partially mimic chronic DR in lifespan extension, we predicted that it would have a minimal effect in Rb1+/− mice. Beginning at 9 weeks of age until death, we fed Rb1+/− mice a diet without or with eRapa at 14 mg/kg food, which results in an approximate dose of 2.24 mg/kg body weight per day, and yielded rapamycin blood levels of about 4 ng/ml. Surprisingly, we found that eRapa dramatically extended life span of both female and male Rb1+/− mice, and slowed the appearance and growth of pituitary and decreased the incidence of thyroid tumors commonly observed in these mice. In this model, eRapa appears to act differently than DR, suggesting diverse mechanisms of action on survival and anti-tumor effects. In particular the beneficial effects of rapamycin did not depend on the dose of Rb1.
mTOR; rapamycin; Rb1; neuroendocrine tumors
Excessive fat accumulation in liver (hepatic steatosis) predisposes to hepatic functional and structural impairment and overall metabolic risk. Previous studies noted an association between hepatic steatosis and age in humans and rodents. However, the mechanisms leading to age-associated hepatic fat accumulation remain unknown. Earlier work from our group showed that β-adrenergic receptor (β-AR) levels and β-AR-stimulated adenylyl cyclase activity increase in rat liver during aging. Here we investigated whether age-associated increases in β-AR signaling play a role in augmenting hepatic lipid accumulation. We demonstrate an increase in hepatic lipid content during senescence and a significant correlation between hepatic fat content and stimulation of adenylyl cyclase activity by the β-AR agonist isoproterenol in rat liver. Isoproterenol administration to young and old rodents in vivo increased hepatic lipid accumulation. Furthermore, in vitro overexpression of β1- and β2-AR subtypes in hepatocytes from young rodents increased cellular lipid content, whereas inhibition of β-ARs by receptor subtype-specific inhibitors reduced lipid levels in hepatocytes from senescent animals. Isoproterenol-induced hepatic lipid accumulation in vivo was prevented by the β-AR nonselective blocker propranolol, suggesting a novel therapeutic effect of this class of drugs in hepatic steatosis. Acipimox, which inhibits adipose tissue lipolysis, did not alter isoproterenol-mediated hepatic fat accumulation; thus β-AR responsive hepatic lipid accumulation does not appear to be related primarily to altered lipolysis. These findings suggest that augmented hepatic β-AR signaling during aging may increase lipid accumulation in liver and advocate a possible role for β-adrenergic blockers in preventing or retarding the development of hepatic steatosis.
Since 1996, aging studies using several strains of long-lived mutant mice have been conducted. Among these studies, Ames dwarf mice have been extensively examined to seek clues regarding the role of the growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor-1 axis in the aging process. Interestingly, these projects demonstrate that Ames dwarf mice have physiological characteristics that are similar to those seen with calorie restriction, which has been the most effective experimental manipulation capable of extending lifespan in various species. However, this introduces the question of whether Ames dwarf and calorie-restricted (CR) mice have an extended lifespan through common or independent pathways. To answer this question, we compared the disease profiles of Ames dwarf mice to their normal siblings fed either ad libitum (AL) or a CR diet. Our findings show that the changes in age-related diseases between AL-fed Ames dwarf mice and CR wild-type siblings were similar but not identical. Moreover, the effects of CR on age-related pathology showed similarities and differences between Ames dwarf mice and their normal siblings, indicating that calorie restriction and Ames dwarf mice exhibit their anti-aging effects through both independent and common mechanisms.
age-related pathology; Ames dwarf mice; calorie restriction; neoplastic disease; aging
Experimental design for mouse aging studies has historically involved lifespan, but it is now clear that survival data without pathology data limit the information that can be obtained on aging animals. This limitation becomes more serious when interventions of any sort are implemented. Pathology gives an insight into the health of an animal by revealing lesions not readily observable in the live animal. As such, it is a snapshot of disease conditions at the time of death. Therefore, a long-term goal is to establish pathology information as an essential component of studies involving health span and lifespan of aging animals. Given that pathology assessment is essential to help define the progression of lesions associated with aging, the real challenge is including it in aging studies because there is currently a lack of specialized expertise and resources. An increase in the level and scope of pathology assessment of tissues from old mice involved in aging studies is needed. A focus on the correlation of pathology data with longitudinal and cross-sectional lifespan data and health span physiology data can be established by enhancing standard histologic assessment of lesions observed in tissues from old mice. An environment for the development and integration of pathology data into aging studies of mice is needed to encourage more pathologists and other scientists to specialize in pathology of aging, and establish relevant standards to compare with other species including humans. Such results will have an important positive impact on aging studies because of the significant empowerment on data analyses and interpretation.
pathology; aging; mouse; histopathology grading; lifespan; health span
We examined the effects of increased levels of thioredoxin 1 (Trx1) on resistance to oxidative stress and aging in transgenic mice overexpressing Trx1 [Tg(TRX1)+/0]. The Tg(TRX1)+/0 mice showed significantly higher Trx1 protein levels in all the tissues examined compared with the wild-type littermates. Oxidative damage to proteins and levels of lipid peroxidation were significantly lower in the livers of Tg(TRX1)+/0 mice compared with wild-type littermates. The survival study demonstrated that male Tg(TRX1)+/0 mice significantly extended the earlier part of life span compared with wild-type littermates, but no significant life extension was observed in females. Neither male nor female Tg(TRX1)+/0 mice showed changes in maximum life span. Our findings suggested that the increased levels of Trx1 in the Tg(TRX1)+/0 mice were correlated to increased resistance to oxidative stress, which could be beneficial in the earlier part of life span but not the maximum life span in the C57BL/6 mice.
Thioredoxin; Transgenic mouse; Oxidative stress; Protein carbonylation; Aging
The Free Radical or Oxidative Stress Theory of Aging is one of the most popular theories in aging research and has been extensively studied over the past several decades. However, recent evidence using transgenic/knockout mice that overexpress or down-regulate antioxidant enzymes challenge the veracity of this theory since the animals show no increase or decrease in lifespan. These results seriously call into question the role of oxidative damage/stress in the aging process in mammals. Therefore, the theory requires significant modifications if we are to understand the relationship between aging and the regulation of oxidative stress. Our laboratory has been examining the impacts of thioredoxins (Trxs), in the cytosol and mitochondria, on aging and age-related diseases. Our data from mice that are either up-regulating or down-regulating Trx in different cellular compartments, that is, the cytosol or mitochondria, could shed some light on the role of oxidative stress and its pathophysiological effects. The results generated from our lab and others may indicate that: 1) changes in oxidative stress and the redox state in the cytosol, mitochondria or nucleus might play different roles in the aging process; 2) the role of oxidative stress and redox state could have different pathophysiological consequences in different tissues/cells, for example, mitotic vs. post-mitotic; 3) oxidative stress could have different pathophysiological impacts in young and old animals; and 4) the pathophysiological roles of oxidative stress and redox state could be controlled through changes in redox-sensitive signaling, which could have more diverse effects on pathophysiology than the accumulation of oxidative damage to various molecules. To critically test the role of oxidative stress on aging and age-related diseases, further study is required using animal models that regulate oxidative stress levels differently in each cellular compartment, each tissue/organ, and/or at different stages of life (young, middle and old) to change redox sensitive signaling pathways.
Thioredoxin; Transgenic mouse; Knockout mouse; Oxidative stress; Cancer; aging
The primary purpose of the present set of studies was to provide a direct comparison of the effects of the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor enalapril and the angiotensin receptor blocker losartan on body composition, physical performance, and muscle quality when administered late in life to aged rats. Overall, enalapril treatment consistently attenuated age-related increases in adiposity relative to both placebo and losartan. The maximal effect was achieved after 3 months of treatment (between 24 and 27 months of age), at a dose of 40 mg/kg and was observed in the absence of any changes in physical activity, body temperature, or food intake. In addition, the reduction in fat mass was not due to changes in pathology given that enalapril attenuated age-related increases in tumor development relative to placebo- and losartan-treated animals. Both enalapril and losartan attenuated age-related decreases in grip strength, suggesting that changes in body composition appear dissociated from improvements in physical function and may reflect a differential impact of enalapril and losartan on muscle quality. To link changes in adiposity to improvements in skeletal muscle quality, we performed gene array analyses to generate hypotheses regarding cell signaling pathways altered with enalapril treatment. Based on these results, our primary follow-up pathway was mitochondria-mediated apoptosis of myocytes. Relative to losartan- and placebo-treated rats, only enalapril decreased DNA fragmentation and caspase-dependent apoptotic signaling. These data suggest that attenuation of the severity of skeletal muscle apoptosis promoted by enalapril may represent a distinct mechanism through which this compound improves muscle strength/quality.
Age-related adiposity; Body composition; Sarcopenia; Renin–angiotensin system; Physical function; Muscle quality
Aging is associated with reduced ability to maintain normal glucose homeostasis. It has been suggested that an age-associated increase in chronic pro-inflammatory state could drive this reduction in glucoregulatory function. Thioredoxins (Trx) are oxido-reductase enzymes that play an important role in the regulation of oxidative stress and inflammation. In this study, we tested whether overexpression of Trx1 in mice [Tg(TRX1)+/0] could protect from glucose metabolism dysfunction caused by high fat diet feeding. Body weight and fat mass gains with high fat feeding were similar in Tg(TRX1)+/0 and wild-type mice; however, high fat diet induced glucose intolerance was reduced in Tg(TRX1)+/0 mice relative to wild-type mice. In addition, expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-α was reduced in adipose tissue of Tg(TRX1)+/0 mice compared to wild-type mice. These findings suggest that activation of thioredoxins may be a potential therapeutic target for maintenance of glucose metabolism with obesity or aging.
oxidative stress; diabetes; obesity; glucose homeostasis; aging
Mutations in insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway have been shown to lead to increased longevity in various invertebrate models. Therefore, the effect of the haplo- insufficiency of the IGF-1 receptor (Igf1r+/−) on longevity/aging was evaluated in C57Bl/6 mice using rigorous criteria where lifespan and end-of-life pathology were measured under optimal husbandry conditions using large sample sizes. Igf1r+/− mice exhibited reductions in IGF-1 receptor levels and the activation of Akt by IGF-1, with no compensatory increases in serum IGF-1 or tissue IGF-1 mRNA levels, indicating that the Igf1r+/− mice show reduced IGF-1 signaling. Aged male, but not female Igf1r+/− mice were glucose intolerant, and both genders developed insulin resistance as they aged. Female, but not male Igf1r+/− mice survived longer than wild type mice after lethal paraquat and diquat exposure, and female Igf1r+/− mice also exhibited less diquat-induced liver damage. However, no significant difference between the lifespans of the male Igf1r+/− and wild type mice was observed; and the mean lifespan of the Igf1r+/− females was increased only slightly (less than 5%) compared to wild type mice. A comprehensive pathological analysis showed no significant difference in end-of-life pathological lesions between the Igf1r+/− and wild type mice. These data show that the Igf1r+/− mouse is not a model of increased longevity and delayed aging as predicted by invertebrate models with mutations in the insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway.
Oncolytic virotherapy for cancer treatment utilizes viruses for selective infection and death of cancer cells without any adverse effect on normal cells. We previously reported that the human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a novel oncolytic virus against androgen-independent PC-3 human prostate cancer cells. The present study extends the result to androgen-dependent prostate cancer, and explores the underlying mechanism that triggers RSV-induced oncolysis of prostate cancer cells.
The oncolytic effect of RSV on androgen-sensitive LNCaP human prostate cancer cells and on androgen-independent RM1 murine prostate cancer cells was studied in vitro in culture and in vivo in a xenograft or allograft tumor model. In vitro, cell viability, infectivity and apoptosis were monitored by MTT assay, viral plaque assay and annexin V staining, respectively. In vivo studies involved virus administration to prostate tumors grown in immune compromised nude mice and in syngeneic immune competent C57BL/6J mice. Anti-tumorogenic oncolytic activity was monitored by measuring tumor volume, imaging bioluminescent tumors in live animals and performing histopathological analysis and TUNEL assay with tumors
We show that RSV imposes a potent oncolytic effect on LNCaP prostate cancer cells. RSV infectivity was markedly higher in LNCaP cells compared to the non-tumorigenic RWPE-1 human prostate cells. The enhanced viral burden led to LNCaP cell apoptosis and growth inhibition of LNCaP xenograft tumors in nude mice. A functional host immune response did not interfere with RSV-induced oncolysis, since growth of xenograft tumors in syngeneic C57BL/6J mice from murine RM1 cells was inhibited upon RSV administration. LNCaP cells failed to activate the type-I interferon (IFNα/β)-induced transcription factor STAT-1, which is required for antiviral gene expression, although these cells could produce IFN in response to RSV infection. The essential role of IFN in restricting infection was further borne out by our finding that neutralizing IFN activity resulted in enhanced RSV infection in non-tumorigenic RWPE-1 prostate cells.
We demonstrated that RSV is potentially a useful therapeutic tool in the treatment of androgen-sensitive and androgen-independent prostate cancer. Moreover, impaired IFN-mediated antiviral response is the likely cause of higher viral burden and resulting oncolysis of androgen-sensitive prostate cancer cells.
The anti-tumor effects of calorie restriction (CR) and the possible underlying mechanisms were investigated using ethylnitrosourea (ENU)-induced glioma in rats. ENU was given transplacentally at gestational day 15, and male offspring were used in this experiment. The brain from 4-, 6-, and 8-month-old rats fed either ad libitum (AL) or calorie-restricted diets (40% restriction of total calories compared to AL rats) was studied. Tumor burden was assessed by comparing the number and size of gliomas present in sections of the brain. Immunohistochemical analysis was used to document lipid peroxidation [4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (HNE) and malondialdehyde (MDA)], protein oxidation (nitrotyrosine), glycation and AGE formation [methylglyoxal (MG) and carboxymethyllysine (CML)], cell proliferation activity [proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA)], cell death [single-stranded DNA (ssDNA)], presence of thioredoxin 1 (Trx1), and presence of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) associated with the development of gliomas. The results showed that the number of gliomas did not change with age in the AL groups; however, the average size of the gliomas was significantly larger in the 8-month-old group compared to that of the younger groups. Immunopositivity was observed mainly in tumor cells and reactive astrocytes in all histological types of ENU-induced glioma. Immunopositive areas for HNE, MDA, nitrotyrosine, MG, CML, HO-1, and Trx1 increased with the growth of gliomas. The CR group showed both reduced number and size of gliomas, and tumors exhibited less accumulation of oxidative damage, decreased formation of glycated end products, and a decreased presence of HO-1 and Trx1 compared to the AL group. Furthermore, gliomas of the CR group showed less PCNA positive and more ssDNA positive cells, which are correlated to the retarded growth of tumors. Interestingly, we also discovered that the anti-tumor effects of CR were associated with decreased hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) levels in normal brain tissue. Our results are very exciting because they not only demonstrate the anti-tumor effects of CR in gliomas, but also indicate the possible underlying mechanisms, i.e. anti-tumor effects of CR observed in this investigation are associated with reduced accumulation of oxidative damage, decreased formation of glycated end products, decreased presence of HO-1 and Trx1, reduced cell proliferation and increased apoptosis, and decreased levels of HIF-1α.
calorie restriction; ethylnitrosourea; glioma; oxidative stress; HIF-1α
To test the impact of increased mitochondrial oxidative stress as a mechanism underlying aging and age-related pathologies, we generated mice with a combined deficiency in two mitochondrial-localized antioxidant enzymes, Mn superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) and glutathione peroxidase-1 (Gpx-1). We compared life span, pathology, and oxidative damage in Gpx1−/−, Sod2+/−Gpx1+/−, Sod2+/−Gpx1−/−, and wild-type control mice. Oxidative damage was elevated in Sod2+/−Gpx1−/− mice, as shown by increased DNA oxidation in liver and skeletal muscle and increased protein oxidation in brain. Surprisingly, Sod2+/−Gpx1−/− mice showed no reduction in life span, despite increased levels of oxidative damage. Consistent with the important role for oxidative stress in tumorigenesis during aging, the incidence of neoplasms was significantly increased in the older Sod2+/−Gpx1−/− mice (28–30 months). Thus, these data do not support a significant role for increased oxidative stress as a result of compromised mitochondrial antioxidant defenses in modulating life span in mice and do not support the oxidative stress theory of aging.
Oxidative stress; Longevity
Genetic manipulations of Mn superoxide dismutase (MnSOD), SOD2 expression have demonstrated that altering the level of MnSOD activity is critical for cellular function and life span in invertebrates. In mammals, Sod2 homozygous knockout mice die shortly after birth, and alterations of MnSOD levels are correlated with changes in oxidative damage and in the generation of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species. In this study, we directly tested the effects of overexpressing MnSOD in young (4–6 months) and old (26–28 months) mice on mitochondrial function, levels of oxidative damage or stress, life span, and end-of-life pathology. Our data show that an approximately twofold overexpression of MnSOD throughout life in mice resulted in decreased lipid peroxidation, increased resistance against paraquat-induced oxidative stress, and decreased age-related decline in mitochondrial ATP production. However, this change in MnSOD expression did not alter either life span or age-related pathology.
Oxidative damage; Mn superoxide dismutase; Pathology; Aging
Currently, the Oxidative Stress (or Free Radical) Theory of Aging is the most popular explanation of how aging occurs at the molecular level. While data from studies in invertebrates (e.g., C. elegans and Drosophila) and rodents show a correlation between increased lifespan and resistance to oxidative stress (and in some cases reduced oxidative damage to macromolecules), direct evidence showing that alterations in oxidative damage/stress play a role in aging are limited to a few studies with transgenic Drosophila that overexpress antioxidant enzymes. Over the past eight years, our laboratory has conducted an exhaustive study on the effect of under- or overexpressing a large number and wide variety of genes coding for antioxidant enzymes. In this review, we present the survival data from these studies together. Because only one (the deletion of the Sod1 gene) of the 18 genetic manipulations we studied had an effect on lifespan, our data calls into serious question the hypothesis that alterations in oxidative damage/stress play a role in the longevity of mice.
Antioxidant defense; oxidative stress; oxidative damage; knockout mice; transgenic mice; longevity
A reduction in IGF-I signaling has been found to increase lifespan in multiple organisms despite the fact that IGF-I is a trophic factor for many cell types and has been found to have protective effects against multiple forms of damage in acute settings. The increase in longevity seen in response to reduced IGF-I signaling suggests that there may be differences between the acute and chronic impact of IGF-I signaling. We have examined the possibility that long-term stimulation with IGF-I may have a negative impact at the cellular level using quiescent human fibroblasts. We find that fibroblast cells exposed to IGF-I for 14 days have reduced long-term viability as judged by colony forming assays, which is accompanied by an accumulation of senescent cells. In addition we observe an accumulation of cells with depolarized mitochondria and a reduction in autophagy in the long-term IGF-I treated cultures. An examination of mice with reduced IGF-I levels reveals evidence of enhanced autophagy and fibroblast cells derived from these mice have a larger mitochondrial mass relative to controls indicating that changes in mitochondrial turnover occurs in animals with reduced IGF-I. The results indicate that chronic IGF-I stimulation leads to mitochondrial dysfunction and reduced cell viability.
Although studies of Ames and Snell dwarf mice have suggested possible important roles of the growth hormone (GH)/insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) axis in aging and age-related diseases, the results cannot rule out the possibility of other hormonal changes playing an important role in the life extension exhibited by these dwarf mice. Therefore, growth hormone receptor/binding protein (GHR/BP) knockout (KO) mice would be valuable animals to directly assess the roles of somatotropic axis in aging and age-related diseases because the primary hormonal change is due to GH/IGF-1 deficiency. Our pathological findings showed GHR/BP KO mice to have a lower incidence and delayed occurrence of fatal neoplastic lesions compared with their wild-type littermates. These changes of fatal neoplasms are similar to the effects observed with calorie restriction and therefore could possibly be a major contributing factor to the extended life span observed in the GHR/BP KO mice.
Growth hormone receptor/binding protein; Knockout mouse; Neoplastic disease; Aging
A small molecule that safely mimics the ability of dietary restriction (DR) to delay age-related diseases in laboratory animals is greatly sought after. We and others have shown that resveratrol mimics effects of DR in lower organisms. In mice, we find that resveratrol induces gene expression patterns in multiple tissues that parallel those induced by DR and every-other-day feeding. Moreover, resveratrol-fed elderly mice show a marked reduction in signs of aging including reduced albuminuria, decreased inflammation and apoptosis in the vascular endothelium, increased aortic elasticity, greater motor coordination, reduced cataract formation, and preserved bone mineral density. However, mice fed a standard diet did not live longer when treated with resveratrol beginning at 12 months of age. Our findings indicate that resveratrol treatment has a range of beneficial effects in mice but does not increase the longevity of ad libitum-fed animals when started mid-life.
Alteration of apoptotic activity has been observed in a number of tissues in aging mammals, but it remains unclear whether and/or how apoptosis may affect aging. Caspase-2 is a member of the cysteine protease family that plays a critical role in apoptosis. To understand the impact of compromised apoptosis function on mammalian aging, we conducted a comparative study on caspase-2 deficient mice and their wild-type littermates with a specific focus on the aging-related traits at advanced ages. We found that caspase-2 deficiency enhanced a number of traits commonly seen in premature aging animals. Loss of caspase-2 was associated with shortened maximum lifespan, impaired hair growth, increased bone loss, and reduced body fat content. In addition, we found that the livers of caspase-2 deficient mice had higher levels of oxidized proteins than those of age-matched wild-type mice, suggesting that caspase-2 deficiency compromised the animal's ability to clear oxidatively damaged cells. Collectively, these results suggest that caspase-2 deficiency affects aging in the mice. This study thus demonstrates for the first time that disruption of a key apoptotic gene has a significant impact on aging.
caspase-2; maximum lifespan; bone; hair growth; fat
Rodent models are an invaluable resource for studying the mechanism of mammalian aging. In recent years, the availability of transgenic and knockout mouse models has facilitated the study of potential mechanisms of aging. Since 1996, aging studies with several long-lived mutant mice have been conducted. Studies with the long-lived mutant mice, Ames and Snell dwarf, and growth hormone receptor/binding protein knockout mice, are currently providing important clues regarding the role of the growth hormone/insulin like growth factor-1 axis in the aging process. Interestingly, these studies demonstrate that these long-lived mutant mice have physiological characteristics that are similar to the effects of calorie restriction, which has been the most effective experimental manipulation capable of extending lifespan in various species. However, a question remains to be answered: do these long-lived mutant and calorie-restricted mice extend their lifespan through a common underlying mechanism?
aging; growth hormone receptor/binding protein; knockout mouse; neoplastic disease
MRG15 is a highly conserved protein, and orthologs exist in organisms from yeast to humans. MRG15 associates with at least two nucleoprotein complexes that include histone acetyltransferases and/or histone deacetylases, suggesting it is involved in chromatin remodeling. To study the role of MRG15 in vivo, we generated knockout mice and determined that the phenotype is embryonic lethal, with embryos and the few stillborn pups exhibiting developmental delay. Immunohistochemical analysis indicates that apoptosis in Mrg15−/− embryos is not increased compared with wild-type littermates. However, the number of proliferating cells is significantly reduced in various tissues of the smaller null embryos compared with control littermates. Cell proliferation defects are also observed in Mrg15−/− mouse embryonic fibroblasts. The hearts of the Mrg15−/− embryos exhibit some features of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The increase in size of the cardiomyocytes is most likely a response to decreased growth of the cells. Mrg15−/− embryos appeared pale, and microarray analysis revealed that α-globin gene expression was decreased in null versus wild-type embryos. We determined by chromatin immunoprecipitation that MRG15 was recruited to the α-globin promoter during dimethyl sulfoxide-induced mouse erythroleukemia cell differentiation. These findings demonstrate that MRG15 has an essential role in embryonic development via chromatin remodeling and transcriptional regulation.
Intervention of the aging process is an effective, experimental means of uncovering the bases of aging. The most efficacious and commonly used intervention used to retard the aging processes is dietary restriction (DR). It increases mean and maximum life spans, delays the appearance, frequency, and severity of many age-related diseases, and more importantly, attenuates much of the physiological decline associated with age. Although the subject of intense research, the mechanism by which DR alters the aging processes is still unknown. Physical exercise is another effective intervention shown to affect aging phenomena, especially when applied in combination with DR. Mild exercise in concert with DR is beneficial, but vigorous exercise coupled with DR could be deleterious. With regard to pathology, exercise generally exerts a salutary influence on age-related diseases, both neoplastic and non-neoplastic, and this effect may contribute to the increase in median life span seen with exercised rats. Exercise coupled with 40% DR was found to suppress the incidence of fatal neoplastic disease compared to the sedentary DR group. Exercise with mild DR suppressed the incidence of multiple fatal disease and chronic nephropathy, and also delayed the occurrence of many age-related lesions compared to the ad libitum (AL) control group. However, these effects may have little bearing on the aging process per se, as maximum life span is only minimally affected. Although not as intensively studied as DR, results from studies that utilize exercise as a research probe, either alone or in combination with DR, have helped to assess the validity of proposed mechanisms for DR and aging itself. Neither the retardation of growth rate nor the increase in physical activity, observed with either exercise or DR, appear to contribute to the anti-aging action of DR. Moreover, results from lifelong exercise studies indicate that the effects of DR do not depend upon changes in energy availability or metabolic rate. The mechanisms involving effects on adiposity or immune function are also inadequate explanations for the action of DR on aging. Of the proposed mechanisms, only one, as postulated by the Oxidative Stress Hypothesis of Aging, tenably accounts for the known effects of DR and exercise on aging.
Calories; Food intake; Physical activity; Longevity; Life span; Aging; Disease