Psychological stress has extreme adverse consequences on health. However, the molecular mechanisms that mediate and accelerate the process of aging due to stress hormone are not well defined. This review has focused on diverse molecular paths that come out in response to chronic psychological stress via releasing of excessive glucocorticoids (GCs), involved in the aging process. GCs suppress transcription of nuclear cell adhesion molecules which impair synaptic plasticity, memory formation, and cognitive ability. Again, GCs promote muscle atrophy by means of motivating ubiquitin proteasome system and can repress muscle protein synthesis by inhibition of PI3-kinase/Akt pathway. GCs also inhibit interleukin-2 synthesis through suppressing T cell receptor signal that leads to loss of T cell activation, proliferation, and B-cell activation. Moreover, GCs increase the expression of collagenase-3, RANK ligand, and colony stimulating factor-1 that induce bone resorption. In general, stress-induced GCs can play causal role for aging and age-related disorders.
Chronic psychological stress; Glucocorticoid; Glucocorticoid receptor; Aging
Calorie restriction (CR) is a reliable anti-aging intervention that attenuates the onset of a number of age-related diseases, reduces oxidative damage, and maintains function during aging. In the current study, we assessed the effects of CR and other feeding regimens on wound healing in 7-month-old Fischer-344 rats from a larger cohort of rats that had been fed either ad libitum (AL) or 40% calorie restricted based on AL consumption. Rats were assigned to one of three diet groups that received three skin punch wounds along the dorsal interscapular region (12-mm diameter near the front limbs) of the back as follows: (1) CR (n = 8) were wounded and maintained on CR until they healed, (2) AL (n = 5) were wounded and maintained on AL until wound closure was completed, and (3) CR rats were refed (RF, n = 9) AL for 48 h prior to wounding and maintained on AL until they healed. We observed that young rats on CR healed more slowly while CR rats refed for 48 h prior to wounding healed as fast as AL fed rats, similar to a study reported in aged CR and RF mice (Reed et al. 1996). Our data suggest that CR subjects, regardless of age, fail to heal well and that provision of increased nutrition to CR subjects prior to wounding enhances the healing process.
Aging; Calorie restriction; Refeeding; Wound healing
Exonucleases are key enzymes involved in many aspects of cellular metabolism and maintenance and are essential to genome stability, acting to cleave DNA from free ends. Exonucleases can act as proofreaders during DNA polymerisation in DNA replication, to remove unusual DNA structures that arise from problems with DNA replication fork progression, and they can be directly involved in repairing damaged DNA. Several exonucleases have been recently discovered, with potentially critical roles in genome stability and ageing. Here we discuss how both intrinsic and extrinsic exonuclease activities contribute to the fidelity of DNA polymerases in DNA replication. The action of exonucleases in processing DNA intermediates during normal and aberrant DNA replication is then assessed, as is the importance of exonucleases in repair of double-strand breaks and interstrand crosslinks. Finally we examine how exonucleases are involved in maintenance of mitochondrial genome stability. Throughout the review, we assess how nuclease mutation or loss predisposes to a range of clinical diseases and particularly ageing.
Exonuclease; Aging; Ageing; WRN; FAN1; FEN1; EXOG; EXDL2; Mitochondria; Proofreading; DNA repair; DNA replication
Dietary restriction extends life span across a vast diversity of taxa, but significant challenges remain in elucidating the underlying mechanisms. Distinguishing between caloric and nutrient effects is an essential step. Recent studies with Drosophila and tephritid fruit flies have reported increased life span as dietary yeast-to-sugar ratios decreased and these effects have been attributed to changes in protein-to-carbohydrate (P:C) ratios of the diets rather than calories. However, yeast is a complex mix of macronutrients and micronutrients, and hence changes in yeast content of the diet necessarily alters other nutrients in lockstep. To explicitly test whether studies using yeast are justified in attributing results to diet protein content rather than correlated nutrients, we developed a chemically defined diet allowing manipulation of just the ratio of protein (free amino acids) to carbohydrate (sucrose) levels of diets while holding other nutrients constant. Mated, female Queensland fruit flies (Q-flies) were fed 1 of 18 diets varying in P:C ratios and diet concentration. Diet consumption, egg production, and life span were recorded for each fly. In close concordance with recent studies using yeast diets, flies had increased life span as P:C ratios decreased, and caloric restriction did not extend life span. Similarly, egg production was maximized on high P:C ratios, but lifetime egg production was maximized on intermediate P:C ratios, indicating a life history trade-off between life span and egg production rate. Finally, Q-flies adjusted their diet intake in response to P:C ratios and diet concentration. Our results substantiate recent claims that P:C ratios significantly modulate life span in flies.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11357-011-9308-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Bactrocera tryoni; Dietary restriction; Geometric framework; Holidic diet; Lifespan; Life history trade-off; Nutrition
Behavioral analysis is a high-end read-out of aging impact on an organism, and here, we have analyzed behaviors in 4-, 22-, and 28-month-old male C57BL/6J with a broad range of tests. For comparison, a group of 28-month-old males maintained on dietary restriction (DR) was included. The most conspicuous alteration was the decline in exploration activity with advancing age. Aging also affected other behaviors such as motor skill acquisition and grip strength, in contrast to latency to thermal stimuli and visual placement which were unchanged. Object recognition tests revealed intact working memory at 28 months while memory recollection was impaired already at 22 months. Comparison with female C57BL/6J (Fahlström et al., Neurobiol Aging 32:1868–1880, 2011) revealed that alterations in aged males and females are similar and that several of the behavioral indices correlate with age in both sexes. Moreover, we examined if behavioral indices in 22-month-old males could predict remaining life span as suggested in the study by Ingram and Reynolds (Exp Aging Res 12(3):155–162, 1986) and found that exploratory activity and motor skills accounted for up to 65% of the variance. Consistent with that a high level of exploratory activity and preserved motor capacity indicated a long post-test survival, 28-month-old males maintained on DR were more successful in such tests than ad libitum fed age-matched males. In summary, aged C57BL/6J males are marked by a reduced exploratory activity, an alteration that DR impedes. In light of recently published data, we discuss if a diminishing drive to explore may associate with aging-related impairment of central aminergic pathways.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11357-011-9320-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Sensorimotor; Memory; Cognition; Gender; Calorie restriction
Evidence suggests that the protective benefits of anesthetic preconditioning (APC) are significantly attenuated in the aged myocardium. In this study, we investigated the effect of aging on gene expression in delayed APC. Hearts from Fischer 344 rats, age 4 or 24 months, were divided into five groups: control; ischemia/reperfusion (I/R); and delayed APC at 6, 12, and 24 h. Whole-genome array was studied using Affymetrix Rat Genome 230 2.0 array. Data were analyzed for significant ≥2.0-fold changes in gene expression. Microarray results were confirmed by quantitative real-time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction. Of the 28,000 genes represented on the Affymetrix Rat Genome 230 2.0 Microarray chip, 24 transcripts in 6 h APC, 28 in 12 h APC, and 28 in 24 h APC group displayed significant up-regulation in mRNA levels, and 70 transcripts in 6 h APC, 101 in 12 h APC, and 82 in 24 h APC displayed significant down-regulation in young rat hearts. These altered genes fall into functional categories of cell defense/death, cell structure, gene expression/protein synthesis, inflammatory response/growth/remodeling, and signaling/communication. Although alterations for some genes were in common, the numbers of changed genes in old rats were markedly and consistently lower than the young rats. Twenty-four hour delayed APC also significantly reduced infarct size and improved myocardial left ventricular function in young hearts, effects that were not observed in old rat hearts. We concluded that delayed APC profoundly and differentially affected gene expression profiles of the cardiomyocyte in an age-associated pattern. The impaired genomic response to delayed APC could underlie the loss of the protective benefits of preconditioning in aged hearts.
Anesthetic; Preconditioning; Delayed; Gene; Expression; Myocardium
The accumulation of oxidative damage to biomolecules, such as DNA, is known to induce alterations in the cell's mechanisms and structure that might lead to the aging process. DNA mismatch repair system (MMR) corrects base mismatches generated during DNA replication that have escaped the proofreading process. In addition, antioxidant enzymes can reduce reactive oxygen species effects in order to protect cells from oxidizing damage. In order to determine the importance of these associated factors during the aging process, in this study, levels of MMR proteins MSH2 and MLH1, as well as microsatellite markers, were compared in liver, lung, and brain of juvenile, adult, and old, both female and male, individuals from two species of wild bats: the short-lived Myotis velifer and the longer lived Desmodus rotundus. Catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase were also analyzed to determine if the antioxidant protection correlates negatively with DNA damage. Antioxidant activities were higher in the longer lived D. rotundus than in M. velifer. Furthermore, old M. velifer but not old D. rotundus bats had reduced MMR levels and increased microsatellite instability. Therefore, although our results correlate the reduced MMR efficiency, the deficient antioxidant activity, and the increase in DNA damage with the aging process, this is not always true for all living organisms.
Aging; Antioxidant activity; Chiroptera; DNA damage; Microsatellite instability; Mismatch repair
Older adults require more time to reweight sensory information for maintaining balance that could potentially lead to increased incidence of falling in rapidly changing or cognitively demanding environments. In this study, we manipulated the visual surround information during a collision avoidance task in order to investigate how young and elderly adults engage in sensory reweighting under conditions of visual anticipation. Sixteen healthy elderly (age: 71.5 ± 4.9 years; height: 159.3 ± 6.6 cm; mass: 73.3 ± 3.3 kg) and 20 young (age: 22.8 ± 3.3 years; height: 174.4 ± 10.7 cm; mass: 70.1 ± 13.9 kg) participants stood for 240 s on a force platform under two experimental conditions: quiet standing and standing while anticipating randomly approaching virtual objects to be avoided. During both tasks, the visual surround changed every 60 s from a stationary virtual scene (room) to either a moving room or darkness and then back to a stationary scene to evoke sensory reweighting processes. In quiet standing, elderly showed greater sway variability and were more severely affected by the removal or degradation of visual surround information when compared to young participants. During visual anticipation, sway variability was not different between the age groups. In addition, both young and elderly participants were similarly affected by the degradation or removal of the visual surround. These findings suggest that sensory reweighting in a dynamic virtual environment that evokes visual anticipation interacts with postural state anxiety regardless of age. Elderly show less efficient sensory reweighting in quiet standing due to greater visual field dependence possibly associated with fear of falling.
Elderly; Anxiety; Balance; Collision avoidance; Visual field dependence
A large number of studies have examined associations between brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene polymorphisms and depressive symptoms. However, results still remain controversial. Recent studies suggested a significant age and gender effect on the heritability of depression. The potential neurobiological pathways that could possibly mediate this relationship have not been examined so far. Since BDNF is involved in the regulation of neurotransmitter production, a mediating role of neurotransmitters seems plausible. The present study aims to examine the association between three common BDNF single-nucleotid polymorphisms (SNPs; rs7103411, rs7124442, and rs6265) and depressive symptoms in a community-based elderly population taking into account the serum levels of four neurotransmitters, serotonin, dopamine, adrenalin, and noradrenalin, as potential mediating factors. We also examined whether age and gender had a modifying effect on this association. We collected and analyzed the genetic and laboratory data as well as Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scores of 350 community-dwelling elderly individuals (aged 65+ years). We found that the BDNF rs6265 polymorphism was related to the severity of depressive symptoms, and that this association was independent of neurotransmitter levels. Stratified analyses showed that this association was restricted to older individuals (≥74 years) and men. The associations of SNPs rs7103411 or rs7124442 SNP with depressive symptoms were not statistically significant. This study importantly adds to the existing literature by affirming previous assumptions on an age and gender difference in the relation between BDNF genotype and depression. We moreover first-time report a missing mediating role of neurotransmitters in this association.
Elderly; Depression; Brain-derived neurotrophic factor; Gene polymorphism; Neurotransmitter
Type 2 diabetes mellitus is characterized by islet β-cell dysfunction and its incidence increases with age. However, the mechanisms underlying the effect of aging on islet β-cell function are not fully understood. We characterized β-cell function in 4-month-old (young), 14-month-old (adult), and 24-month-old (old) male Wistar rats, and found that islet β-cell function decreased gradually with age. Old rats displayed oral glucose intolerance and exhibited a decrease in glucose-stimulated insulin release (GSIR) and palmitic acid-stimulated insulin release (PSIR). Furthermore, total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD), CuZn superoxide dismutase (CuZn-SOD), and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activity decreased, whereas serum malondialdehyde (MDA) levels increased in the older rats. Moreover, we detected a significant reduction in β-cell proliferation and an increase in the frequency of apoptotic β-cells in the islets of rats in the old group. Finally, Anxa1 expression in the islets of old rats was significantly upregulated. These data provide new insights into the development of age-related β-cell dysfunction in rats.
Aging; Insulin resistance; Islet secretion function; Rats
Hemodynamic forces play a role in the development of atherosclerosis. Their variations with age have been assessed in cross-sectional, but not longitudinal, studies. The aim of the present study was to investigate in both sexes the age-dependent change in wall shear stress and arterial stiffness in subjects studied twice 12 years apart. Forty-eight subjects (15 women and 33 men) were studied twice 12 years apart. Subjects underwent blood viscosity measurement and echo-Doppler of carotid arteries, from which the intima–media thickness (IMT) was measured and the wall shear stress and Peterson’s elastic modulus were calculated. Blood viscosity increased in both sexes, more markedly in women (+13.2%) than men (+7.2%). Common carotid diameter increased in both sexes, but in men (+7.4%) more than in women (+5.5%). Peak and mean velocity decreased at follow-up by 10.7% and 18.9% in women and by 14.2% and 18.1% in men. Peak and mean shear stress significantly decreased in men by 13.0% and 17.5%, respectively, while in women only the mean shear stress was reduced (−11.8%). The IMT of the common carotid artery increased by 29% in women and 20% in men. Arterial stiffness significantly increased (+74.5% in women and +28.0% in men). The percent change in mean shear stress was significantly and inversely associated with the percent change in IMT. The data of this study show that, in a middle-aged population observed for almost 12 years, the mean shear stress decreases significantly in both sexes, while peak shear stress decreases significantly only in men. The change in mean shear stress is inversely associated with changes in IMT. Arterial stiffness, on the other hand, increases with aging.
Wall shear stress; Carotid artery; Arterial stiffness
The purpose of the study was to assess the effects of exercise interventions with different impact loading characteristics on lumbar spine (LS) and femoral neck (FN) bone mineral density (BMD) in older adults. We searched electronic databases and hand searched selected journals up to February 2011 for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigating the effects of impact exercise interventions on LS and FN BMD in older adults. Exercise protocols were categorized according to impact loading characteristics. Weighted mean difference (WMD) meta-analyses were undertaken. Heterogeneity amongst trials and publication bias was tested. Random-effects models were applied. Trial quality assessment was also undertaken. Nineteen RCTs, including 1577 subjects, met the inclusion criteria. Twenty-two study group comparisons reported BMD data at the LS. Meta-analysis showed a significant change in BMD at this site (WMD 0.011 g/cm2, 95% CI 0.003 to 0.020; p = 0.007), although results were moderately inconsistent (I2 = 52.2%). BMD data at the FN were available from 19 study group comparisons among older adults. Results were inconsistent (I2 = 63.6%) in showing a significant positive effect of exercise on BMD at this site (WMD 0.016 g/cm2, 95% CI 0.005 to 0.027; p = 0.004). Combined loading studies of impact activity mixed with high-magnitude joint reaction force loading through resistance training were effective at LS (WMD 0.016 g/cm2, 95% CI 0.002 to 0.036; p = 0.028), and no inconsistency existed among these trials. Odd-impact protocols were also effective in increasing BMD at LS (WMD 0.039 g/cm2, 95% CI 0.002 to 0.075; p = 0.038) and FN (WMD 0.036 g/cm2, 95% CI 0.012 to 0.061; p = 0.004), although heterogeneity was evident (I2 = 87.5% and I2 = 83.5%, respectively). We found consistency among results for low-impact and resistance exercise studies on LS and FN, although non-significant BMD changes were evident amongst these types of protocols at any site and amongst the RCTs that provided a combined loading impact exercise at FN. Funnel plots showed no evidence of publication bias. Trial quality was moderate to high. The findings from our meta-analysis of RCTs support the efficacy of exercise for increasing LS and FN BMD in older adults.
Systematic review; Meta-analysis; Bone density; Exercise; Aging
Menopausal women exhibit a loss of circadian coordination, a process that runs parallel with a redistribution of adipose tissue. However, the specific genetic mechanisms underlying these alterations have not been studied. Thus, the aim of the present study was to determine whether the development of menopause induces an alteration of the genes that control biological rhythms in human subcutaneous (SAT) and visceral (VAT) adipose tissue, and whether changes in clock gene expression are involved in the increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome (MetS), which is frequently associated with menopause. To this end, VAT and SAT biopsies were taken in pre- (n = 7) and postmenopausal (n = 7) women at similar hours in the morning. RNA was extracted, and a microarray analysis was made. Data were confirmed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Western blot and immunohistochemical analysis were also performed. When clock gene expression was compared between both groups of women, data in SAT showed that expression of the core clock gene period3 was significantly higher in postmenopausal women, while casein kinase-1δ, E1A-binding protein and cAMP-responsive element were preferentially expressed in the premenopausal group. In VAT, period2 (PER2) and v-myc myelocytomatosis viral oncogene expressions were significantly higher in the postmenopausal group. Western blot analysis indicated that PER2 and PER3 protein expression was also increased in postmenopausal women. In addition, several genes, including PER2, were differentially expressed depending on whether or not the patient met the MetS criteria. We conclude that menopause transition induces several changes in the genotype of the adipose tissue chronobiological machinery related to an increased risk of developing MetS.
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The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11357-011-9309-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Clock genes; Microarrays; Menopause; Visceral adipose tissue; Subcutaneous adipose tissue; Metabolic syndrome
This paper aims to study the effects of the oxidative stress induced by quality and quantity of dietary fat on cellular senescence. Twenty elderly subjects consumed three diets, each for 4 weeks: a saturated fatty acid diet (SFA), a low-fat and high-carbohydrate diet (CHO-ALA), and a Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) enriched in monounsaturated fatty acid following a randomized crossover design. For each diet, we investigated intracellular reactive oxidative species (ROS), cellular apoptosis and telomere length in human umbilical endothelial cells incubated with serum from each patient. MedDiet induced lower intracellular ROS production, cellular apoptosis, and percentage of cell with telomere shortening, compared with the baseline and with SFA and CHO-ALA diets. Dietary fat modulates the oxidative stress in human endothelial cells. MedDiet protects these cells from oxidative stress, prevents cellular senescence and reduces cellular apoptosis.
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The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11357-011-9305-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Mediterranean diet; Cellular senescence; Endothelial cell; Oxidative stress; Telomere
While overall DNA methylation decreases with age, CpG-rich areas of the genome can become hypermethylated. Hypermethylation near transcription start sites typically decreases gene expression. Klotho (KL) is important in numerous age-associated pathways including insulin/IGF1 and Wnt signaling and naturally decreases with age in brain, heart, and liver across species. Brain tissues from young and old rhesus monkeys were used to determine whether epigenetic modification of the KL promoter underlies age-related decreases in mRNA and protein levels of KL. The KL promoter in genomic DNA from brain white matter did not show evidence of oxidation in vivo but did exhibit an increase in methylation with age. Further analysis identified individual CpG motifs across the region of interest with increased methylation in old animals. In vitro methyl modification of these individual cytosine residues confirmed that methylation of the promoter can decrease gene transcription. These results provide evidence that changes in KL gene expression with age may, at least in part, be the result of epigenetic changes to the 5′ regulatory region.
Oxidation; Methylation; Age downregulation; White matter; Pyrosequencing
Cross-sectional studies show that higher blood concentrations of inflammatory markers tend to be more common in frail older people but longitudinal evidence that these inflammatory markers are risk factors for frailty is sparse and inconsistent. We investigated the prospective relation between baseline concentrations of the inflammatory markers C-reactive protein and fibrinogen and risk of incident frailty in 2146 men and women aged 60 to over 90 years from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. The relationship between C-reactive protein and fibrinogen and risk of incident frailty differed significantly by sex (p for interaction terms <0.05). In age-adjusted logistic regression analyses, for a standard deviation increase in c-reactive protein or fibrinogen odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) for incident frailty in women were 1.69 (1.32, 2.17) and 1.39 (1.12, 1.72) respectively. Further adjustment for other potential confounding factors attenuated both these estimates. For an SD increase in CRP and fibrinogen the fully-adjusted odds ratio (95% confidence interval) for incident frailty in women was 1.27 (0.96, 1.69 and 1.31 (1.04, 1.67) respectively. Having a high concentration of both inflammatory markers was more strongly predictive of incident frailty than having a high concentration of either marker alone. In men, there were no significant associations between any of the inflammatory markers and risk of incident frailty. High concentrations of the inflammatory markers C-reactive protein and fibrinogen are more strongly predictive of incident frailty in women than in men. Further research is needed to understand the mechanisms underlying this sex difference.
frailty; inflammation; C-reactive protein; fibrinogen; longitudinal study
Despite of the growth of ultra-endurance sports events (of duration > 6h) over the previous few decades, the age-related declines in ultra-endurance performance have drawn little attention. The aim of the study was to analyze the changes in participation and performance trends of older (> 40 yrs of age) triathletes between 1986 and 2010 at the Hawaii Ironman triathlon consisting of 3.8 km swimming, 180 km cycling and 42 km running. Swimming, cycling, running and total times of the best male and female triathletes between 18 and 69 yrs of age who competed in the Hawaii Ironman triathlon were analyzed. The relative participation of master triathletes increased during the 1986–2010 period, while the participation of triathletes younger than 40 yrs of age decreased. Linear regression showed that males older than 44 yrs and females older than 40 yrs significantly improved their performances in the three disciplines and in the total time taken to complete the race. Gender differences in total time performance significantly decreased in the same time period for all age groups between the 40–44 yrs and 55–59 yrs ones. The reasons for these relative improvements of Ironman athlete performances in older age groups remain, however, unknown. Further studies investigating training regimes, competition experience or socio-demographic factors are needed to gain better insights into the phenomenon of increasing participation and improvement of ultra-endurance performance with advancing age.
Master athletes, Endurance, Gender differences. Triathlon, Swimming, Cycling, Running, Aging.
Inflammation may contribute to cognitive decline and dementia. This study examined the cross-sectional relationships between markers of systemic inflammation (C-reactive protein, interleukins-1β, -6, -8, -10, -12, plasminogen activator inhibitor, serum amyloid A, tumour necrosis factor-α and vascular adhesion molecule-1) and cognitive function in 873 non-demented community-dwelling elderly participants aged 70–90 years. Regression analyses were performed to determine the relationships between cognitive domains and inflammatory markers, controlling for age, sex, education, cardiovascular risk factors, obesity and other metabolic factors, smoking, alcohol consumption, depression and presence of the apolipoprotein ε4 genotype. Regression analyses were repeated using four factors derived from a factor analysis of the cognitive tests. After Bonferroni correction for multiple testing, associations remained between raised levels of interleukin-12 and reduced performance in processing speed. Marked sex differences were noted in the abovementioned findings, with only females being significantly affected. Using the four factors derived from the factor analyses of cognitive test as dependent variables, interleukins-12 and -6 were both associated with the processing speed/executive function factor, even after controlling for relevant confounding factors. Thus, markers of systemic inflammation are related to cognitive deficits in a non-clinical community-dwelling elderly population, independent of depression, cardiovascular or metabolic risk factors, or presence of apolipoprotein ε4 genotype. Additional research is required to elucidate the pathophysiology and longitudinal development of these relationships.
Inflammation; Ageing; Cytokines; Inflammaging; Cognition; Dementia
Menopause in women occurs at mid-life. Chimpanzees, in contrast, continue to display cycles of menstrual bleeding and genital swelling, suggestive of ovulation, until near their maximum life span of about 60 years. Because ovulation was not confirmed hormonally, however, the age at which chimpanzees experience menopause has remained uncertain. In the present study, we provide hormonal data from urine samples collected from 30 female chimpanzees, of which 9 were old (>30 years), including 2 above the age of 50 years. Eight old chimpanzees showed clear endocrine evidence of ovulation, as well as cycles of genital swelling that correlated closely with measured endocrine changes. Endocrine evidence thus confirms prior observations (cyclic anogenital swelling) that menopause is a late-life event in the chimpanzee. We also unexpectedly discovered an idiopathic anovulation in some young and middle-aged chimpanzees; this merits further study. Because our results on old chimpanzees validate the use of anogenital swelling as a surrogate index of ovulation, we were able to combine data on swelling and urinary hormones to provide the first estimates of age-specific rates of menopause in chimpanzees. We conclude that menopause occurs near 50 years of age in chimpanzees as it does in women. Our finding identifies a basic difference between the human and chimpanzee aging processes: female chimpanzees can remain reproductively viable for a greater proportion of their life span than women. Thus, while menopause marks the end of the chimpanzee’s life span, women may thrive for decades more.
Menopause; Sexual swelling; Reproduction; Aging; Estrogen; Progesterone
The immune system must overcome daily challenges from pathogens to protect the body from infection. The success of the immune response to infection relies on the ability to sense and evaluate microbial threats and organize their elimination, while limiting damage to host tissues. This delicate balance is achieved through coordinated action of the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system. Aging results in several structural and functional changes in the immune system, often described under the umbrella term “immune senescence”. Age-related changes affect both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system and are believed to result in increased susceptibility and severity of infectious diseases, which is further exacerbated by reduced vaccine efficacy in the elderly. Therefore, multiple strategies to improve immune function in the aged are being investigated. Traditionally, studies on immune senescence are conducted using inbred specific pathogen free (SPF) rodents. This animal model has provided invaluable insight into the mechanisms of aging. However, the limited genetic heterogeneity and the SPF status of this model restrict the successful transfer of immunological discoveries between murine models and the clinical setting. More recently, nonhuman primates (NHPs) have emerged as a leading translational model to investigate immune senescence and to test interventions aimed at delaying/reversing age-related changes in immune function. In this article, we review and summarize advances in immuno-restorative approaches investigated in the NHP model system and discuss where the NHP model can support the development of novel therapeutics.
Immune senescence; Nonhuman primates; Cytokine; Caloric restriction; Hormones
Many environmental conditions show rhythmic changes across the 24-h day; these include changes in light intensity, ambient temperature, food availability, and presence or absence of predators. Consequently, many organisms have developed corresponding adaptations, which ensure that specific physiological and behavioral events occur at an appropriate time of the day. In mammals, the underlying mechanism responsible for synchronizing internal biochemical processes with circadian environmental cues has been well studied and is thought to comprise three major components: (1) photoreception by the retina and transmission of neural signals along the retinohypothalamic tract, (2) integration of photoperiodic information with an internal reference circadian pacemaker located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus, and (3) dissemination of circadian information to target organs, via the autonomic nervous system and through humoral pathways. Given the importance that neuroendocrine rhythms play in coordinating normal circadian physiology and behavior, it is plausible that their perturbation during aging contributes to the etiology of age-related pathologies. This mini-review highlights some of the most dramatic rhythmic neuroendocrine changes that occur in primates during aging, focusing primarily on data from the male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). In addition to the age-associated attenuation of hormone levels and reduction of humoral circadian signaling, there are also significant age-related changes in intracrine processing enzymes and hormone receptors which may further affect the functional efficacy of these hormones. Rhesus macaques, like humans, are large diurnal primates and show many of the same physiological and behavioral circadian changes during aging. Consequently, they represent an ideal translational animal model in which to study the causes and consequences of age-associated internal circadian disruption and in which to evaluate novel therapies.
Adrenal gland; Circadian rhythms; Intracrinology; Neurosteroidogenesis
Growing evidence suggests that type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) is associated with age-dependent Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the latter of which has even been considered as type 3 diabetes. Several physiopathological features including hyperglycemia, oxidative stress, and dysfunctional insulin signaling relate DM to AD. In this study, high glucose-, oxidative stress-induced neuronal injury and intracerebroventricular-streptozotocin (ICV-STZ) animals as the possible models for diabetes-related AD were employed to investigate the effects of exendin-4 (Ex-4), a long-acting glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, on diabetes-associated Alzheimer-like changes as well as the molecular mechanisms involved. Our study demonstrated that GLP-1/Ex-4 could exert a protective effect against reduced viability of PC12 cells caused by high glucose and that this protective effect was mediated via the PI3-kinase pathway. In addition, GLP-1/Ex-4 ameliorated oxidative stress-induced injury in PC12 cells. In rat models, bilateral ICV-STZ administration was used to produce impaired insulin signaling in the brain. Fourteen days following ICV-STZ injection, rats treated with twice-daily Ex-4 had better learning and memory performance in the Morris water maze test compared with rats treated with saline. Additionally, histopathological evaluation confirmed the protective effects of Ex-4 treatment on hippocampal neurons against degeneration. Furthermore, we demonstrated that Ex-4 reversed ICV-STZ-induced tau hyperphosphorylation through downregulation of GSK-3β activity, a key kinase in both DM and AD. Our findings suggests that Ex-4 can protect neurons from diabetes-associated glucose metabolic dysregulation insults in vitro and from ICV-STZ insult in vivo, and that Ex-4 may prove of therapeutic value in the treatment of AD especially DM-related AD.
Alzheimer’s disease; Diabetes mellitus; Exendin-4; Streptozotocin; Tau-protein; Glycogen synthase kinase 3β
Age-related bone loss is well established in humans and is known to occur in nonhuman primates. There is little information, however, on the effect of dietary interventions, such as caloric restriction (CR), on age-related bone loss. This study examined the effects of long-term, moderate CR on skeletal parameters in rhesus monkeys. Thirty adult male rhesus monkeys were subjected to either a restricted (R, n = 15) or control (C, n = 15) diet for 20 years and examined throughout for body composition and biochemical markers of bone turnover. Total body, spine, and radius bone mass and density were assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Assessment of biochemical markers of bone turnover included circulating serum levels of osteocalcin, carboxyterminal telopeptide of type I collagen, cross-linked aminoterminal telopeptide of type I collagen, parathyroid hormone, and 25(OH)vitamin D. Overall, we found that bone mass and density declined over time with generally higher levels in C compared to R animals. Circulating serum markers of bone turnover were not different between C and R with nonsignficant diet-by-time interactions. We believe the lower bone mass in R animals reflects the smaller body size and not pathological osteopenia.
Caloric restriction; Bone; Aging; Osteoporosis; Dietary restriction; Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry