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1.  What is Xenohormesis? 
Polyphenols such as resveratrol and quercetin, which are produced by stressed plants, activate sirtuin enzymes and extend the lifespan of fungi and animals, ostensibly by mimicking the beneficial effects of caloric restriction. This observation raises an interesting question: Why should foreign molecules that are non-nutritive and seemingly unrelated to any endogenous molecule modulate the same biochemical pathways that mediate the response to an energy deficit? A possible explanation is that the sirtuin enzymes have evolved to respond to plant stress molecules as indicators of an impending deterioration of the environment. This idea has become known as the Xenohormesis Hypothesis, the name stemming from a combination of the prefix xeno-(for stranger) with hormesis (a protective response induced by mild stress). Here we review the evidence for xenohormesis in a broader context, taking into account the diverse spectrum of phytochemicals to which animals are exposed. We also consider alternative hypotheses that may explain some of the beneficial effects of plant-based foods. We suggest that xenohormesis, defined as an adaptive response in the physiology of an organism to molecular cues that are neither nutritive nor direct stressors, most likely occurs at some level. Whether this can fully or partially account for the beneficial effects of resveratrol and other phytochemicals remains to be seen. However, there is already sufficient cause to re-evaluate the relationship between complex organisms, including humans and their food.
PMCID: PMC4775249  PMID: 26949380
Hormesis; phytochemical; plant; resveratrol; polyphenol
2.  Are sirtuins viable targets for improving healthspan and lifespan? 
Nature reviews. Drug discovery  2012;11(6):443-461.
Although the increased lifespan of our populations illustrates the success of modern medicine, the risk of developing many diseases increases exponentially with old age. Caloric restriction is known to retard ageing and delay functional decline as well as the onset of disease in most organisms. Studies have implicated the sirtuins (SIRT1–SIRT7) as mediators of key effects of caloric restriction during ageing. Two unrelated molecules that have been shown to increase SIRT1 activity in some settings, resveratrol and SRT1720, are excellent protectors against metabolic stress in mammals, making SIRT1 a potentially appealing target for therapeutic interventions. This Review covers the current status and controversies surrounding the potential of sirtuins as novel pharmacological targets, with a focus on SIRT1.
PMCID: PMC4684642  PMID: 22653216
3.  Accumulation of 3-hydroxytetradecenoic acid: Cause or corollary of glucolipotoxic impairment of pancreatic β-cell bioenergetics? 
Molecular Metabolism  2015;4(12):926-939.
Hyperglycemia and elevated blood lipids are the presumed precipitating causes of β-cell damage in T2DM as the result of a process termed “glucolipotoxicity”. Here, we tested whether glucolipotoxic pathophysiology is caused by defective bioenergetics using islets in culture.
Insulin secretion, respiration, ATP generation, fatty acid (FA) metabolite profiles and gene expression were determined in isolated islets treated under glucolipotoxic culture conditions.
Over time, chronic exposure of mouse islets to FAs with glucose leads to bioenergetic failure and reduced insulin secretion upon stimulation with glucose or amino acids. Islets exposed to glucolipotoxic conditions displayed biphasic changes of the oxygen consumption rate (OCR): an initial increase in baseline and Vmax of OCR after 3 days, followed by decreased baseline and glucose stimulated OCR after 5 days. These changes were associated with lower islet ATP levels, impaired glucose-induced ATP generation, a trend for reduced mitochondrial DNA content and reduced expression of mitochondrial transcription factor A (Tfam). We discovered the accumulation of carnitine esters of hydroxylated long chain FAs, in particular 3-hydroxytetradecenoyl-carnitine.
As long chain 3-hydroxylated FA metabolites are known to uncouple heart and brain mitochondria [53], [54], [55], we propose that under glucolipotoxic condition, unsaturated hydroxylated long-chain FAs accumulate, uncouple and ultimately inhibit β-cell respiration. This leads to the slow deterioration of mitochondrial function progressing to bioenergetics β-cell failure.
•We found low capacity of islets to generate ATP after glucolipotoxic treatment.•Found biphasic (up/down) respiratory time course as expression of glucolipotoxicity.•We found β-Hydroxylated long FA metabolites as new glucolipotoxicity mediators.•β-Hydroxylated long FAs are known to uncouple Ox/Phos.•We propose defective bioenergetics as main cause of glucolipotoxicity.
PMCID: PMC4731732  PMID: 26909309
Pancreatic islets; Fatty acids; Oxygen consumption; Insulin secretion; Mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation
4.  SRT2104 Extends Survival of Male Mice on a Standard Diet and Preserves Bone and Muscle Mass 
Aging cell  2014;13(5):787-796.
Increased expression of SIRT1 extends the lifespan of lower organisms and delays the onset of age-related diseases in mammals. Here, we show that SRT2104, a synthetic small molecule activator of SIRT1, extends both mean and maximal lifespan of mice fed a standard diet. This is accompanied by improvements in health, including enhanced motor coordination, performance, bone mineral density and insulin sensitivity associated with higher mitochondrial content and decreased inflammation. Short-term SRT2104 treatment preserves bone and muscle mass in an experimental model of atrophy. These results demonstrate it is possible to design a small molecule that can slow aging and delay multiple age-related diseases in mammals, supporting the therapeutic potential of SIRT1 activators in humans.
PMCID: PMC4172519  PMID: 24931715
Sirtuins; lifespan; healthspan; osteoporosis; muscle wasting; inflammation
5.  Control of gluconeogenesis by metformin: Does redox trump energy charge? 
Cell metabolism  2014;20(2):197-199.
PMCID: PMC4154964  PMID: 25100057
6.  Resveratrol prevents high fat/sucrose diet-induced central arterial wall inflammation and stiffening in nonhuman primates 
Cell metabolism  2014;20(1):183-190.
Central arterial wall stiffening driven by a chronic inflammatory milieu accompanies arterial diseases, the leading cause of cardiovascular (CV) morbidity and mortality in Western society. Increase in central arterial wall stiffening, measured as an increase in aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV), is a major risk factor for clinical CV disease events. However, no specific therapies to reduce PWV are presently available. In rhesus monkeys, a two-year diet high in fat and sucrose (HFS) increases not only body weight and cholesterol, but also induces prominent central arterial wall stiffening and increases PWV and inflammation. The observed loss of endothelial cell integrity, lipid and macrophage infiltration, and calcification of the arterial wall were driven by genomic and proteomic signatures of oxidative stress and inflammation. Resveratrol prevented the HFS-induced arterial wall inflammation and the accompanying increase in PWV. Dietary resveratrol may hold promise as a novel therapy to ameliorate increases in PWV.
PMCID: PMC4254394  PMID: 24882067
7.  Resveratrol ameliorates mitochondrial dysfunction but increases the risk of hypoglycemia following hemorrhagic shock 
Hemorrhagic shock (HS) may contribute to organ failure, by profoundly altering mitochondrial function. Resveratrol (RSV), a naturally occurring polyphenol, has been shown to promote mitochondrial function and regulate glucose homeostasis in diabetes. We hypothesized that RSV during resuscitation would ameliorate HS-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and improve hyperglycemia following acute blood loss.
With the use a decompensated HS model, male Long-Evans rats (n = 6 per group) were resuscitated with lactated Ringer’s solution with or without RSV (30 mg/kg) and were killed before hemorrhage (sham), at severe shock, following resuscitation, and 18 hours after resuscitation. At each time point, the liver and kidney mitochondria were isolated to assess individual respiratory complexes (CI, CII, and CIV) and the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Blood samples were assayed for glucose, insulin, corticosterone, total glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1), glucagon, and serum cytokine levels. The Homeostatic Model Assessment–Insulin Resistance index was used to quantify insulin resistance.
RSV supplementation following HS significantly improved mitochondrial function and decreased mitochondrial ROS production in both liver and kidney. RSV-treated animals had significantly lower blood glucose levels following resuscitation when compared with sham animals (116.0 ± 20.2 mg/dL vs. 227.7 ± 8.3 mg/dL, p < 0.05) or those resuscitated with lactated Ringer’s solution (116.0 ± 20.2 mg/dL vs. 359.0 ± 79.5 mg/dL, p < 0.05). RSV supplementation was associated with significantly decreased plasma insulin levels (1.0 ± 0.4 ng/mL vs. 6.5 ± 3.7 ng/mL, p < 0.05), increased total GLP-1 levels (385.8 ± 56.6 ng/mL vs. 187.3 ± 11.1 ng/mL, p < 0.05), and a lower natural Log Homeostatic Model Assessment–Insulin Resistance index (1.30 ± 0.42 vs. 4.18 ± 0.68, p < 0.05) but had minimal effect on plasma corticosterone, glucagon, or cytokine levels.
Resuscitation with RSV restores mitochondrial function and decreases insulin resistance but may be associated with increased hypoglycemia. The observed antiglycemic effects of RSV may be mediated by decreased mitochondrial ROS and increased GLP-1 secretion.
PMCID: PMC4474478  PMID: 25248062
Resveratrol; hemorrhagic shock; mitochondria; blood glucose; rats
8.  Pharmacologic Means of Extending Lifespan 
PMCID: PMC4219537  PMID: 25379357
9.  Resveratrol improves adipose insulin signaling and reduces the inflammatory response in adipose tissue of rhesus monkeys on a high-fat, high-sugar diet 
Cell metabolism  2013;18(4):10.1016/j.cmet.2013.09.004.
Obesity is associated with a chronic, low-grade, systemic inflammation that may contribute to the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Resveratrol, a natural compound with anti-inflammatory properties, is shown to improve glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in obese mice and humans. Here we tested the effect of a 2-year resveratrol administration on pro-inflammatory profile and insulin resistance caused by a high-fat, high-sugar (HFS) diet in white adipose tissue (WAT) from rhesus monkeys. Eighty mg/day of resveratrol for 12-month followed by 480 mg/day for the second year decreased adipocyte size, increased sirtuin 1 expression, decreased NF-κB activation and improved insulin sensitivity in visceral but not subcutaneous WAT from HFS-fed animals. These effects were reproduced in 3T3-L1 adipocytes cultured in media supplemented with serum from monkeys fed HFS +/− resveratrol diets. In conclusion, chronic administration of resveratrol exerts beneficial metabolic and inflammatory adaptations in visceral WAT from diet-induced obese monkeys.
PMCID: PMC3832130  PMID: 24093677
10.  SRT2104 extends survival of male mice on a standard diet and preserves bone and muscle mass 
Aging Cell  2014;13(5):787-796.
Increased expression of SIRT1 extends the lifespan of lower organisms and delays the onset of age-related diseases in mammals. Here, we show that SRT2104, a synthetic small molecule activator of SIRT1, extends both mean and maximal lifespan of mice fed a standard diet. This is accompanied by improvements in health, including enhanced motor coordination, performance, bone mineral density, and insulin sensitivity associated with higher mitochondrial content and decreased inflammation. Short-term SRT2104 treatment preserves bone and muscle mass in an experimental model of atrophy. These results demonstrate it is possible to design a small molecule that can slow aging and delay multiple age-related diseases in mammals, supporting the therapeutic potential of SIRT1 activators in humans.
PMCID: PMC4172519  PMID: 24931715
healthspan; inflammation; lifespan; muscle wasting; osteoporosis; sirtuins
11.  Extended Wakefulness: Compromised Metabolics in and Degeneration of Locus Ceruleus Neurons 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2014;34(12):4418-4431.
Modern society enables a shortening of sleep times, yet long-term consequences of extended wakefulness on the brain are largely unknown. Essential for optimal alertness, locus ceruleus neurons (LCns) are metabolically active neurons that fire at increased rates across sustained wakefulness. We hypothesized that wakefulness is a metabolic stressor to LCns and that, with extended wakefulness, adaptive mitochondrial metabolic responses fail and injury ensues. The nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide-dependent deacetylase sirtuin type 3 (SirT3) coordinates mitochondrial energy production and redox homeostasis. We find that brief wakefulness upregulates SirT3 and antioxidants in LCns, protecting metabolic homeostasis. Strikingly, mice lacking SirT3 lose the adaptive antioxidant response and incur oxidative injury in LCns across brief wakefulness. When wakefulness is extended for longer durations in wild-type mice, SirT3 protein declines in LCns, while oxidative stress and acetylation of mitochondrial proteins, including electron transport chain complex I proteins, increase. In parallel with metabolic dyshomeostasis, apoptosis is activated and LCns are lost. This work identifies mitochondrial stress in LCns upon wakefulness, highlights an essential role for SirT3 activation in maintaining metabolic homeostasis in LCns across wakefulness, and demonstrates that extended wakefulness results in reduced SirT3 activity and, ultimately, degeneration of LCns.
PMCID: PMC3960479  PMID: 24647961
acetylation; locus ceruleus; metabolics; mitochondria; oxidative stress; sleep deprivation
12.  Rapamycin-induced metabolic defects are reversible in both lean and obese mice 
Aging (Albany NY)  2014;6(9):742-754.
The inhibition of mTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin) by the macrolide rapamycin has many beneficial effects in mice, including extension of lifespan and reduction or prevention of several age-related diseases. At the same time, chronic rapamycin treatment causes impairments in glucose metabolism including hyperglycemia, glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. It is unknown whether these metabolic effects of rapamycin are permanent or whether they can be alleviated. Here, we confirmed that rapamycin causes glucose intolerance and insulin resistance in both inbred and genetically heterogeneous mice fed either low fat or high fat diets, suggesting that these effects of rapamycin are independent of genetic background. Importantly, we also found that these effects were almost completely lost within a few weeks of cessation of treatment, showing that chronic rapamycin treatment does not induce permanent impairment of glucose metabolism. Somewhat surprisingly, chronic rapamycin also promoted increased accumulation of adipose tissue in high fat fed mice. However, this effect too was lost when rapamycin treatment was ended suggesting that this effect of rapamycin is also not permanent. The reversible nature of rapamycin's alterations of metabolic function suggests that these potentially detrimental side-effects might be managed through alternative dosing strategies or concurrent treatment options.
PMCID: PMC4221917  PMID: 25324470
rapamycin; glucose; insulin; obesity; mTOR
13.  Young and old genetically heterogeneous HET3 mice on a rapamycin diet are glucose intolerant but insulin sensitive 
Aging cell  2013;12(4):712-718.
Rapamycin, an inhibitor of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway, extends the lifespan of yeast, worms, flies, and mice. Interventions that promote longevity are often correlated with increased insulin sensitivity, and it therefore is surprising that chronic rapamycin treatment of mice, rats and humans is associated with insulin resistance (Johnston et al. 2008; Houde et al. 2010; Lamming et al. 2012). We examined the effect of dietary rapamycin treatment on glucose homeostasis and insulin resistance in the genetically heterogeneous HET3 mouse strain, a strain in which dietary rapamycin robustly extends mean and maximum lifespan. We find that rapamycin treatment leads to glucose intolerance in both young and old HET3 mice, but in contrast to the previously reported effect of injected rapamycin in C57BL/6 mice, HET3 mice treated with dietary rapamycin responded normally in an insulin tolerance test. To gauge the overall consequences of rapamycin treatment on average blood glucose levels, we measured HBA1c. Dietary rapamycin increased HBA1c over the first three weeks of treatment in young animals, but the effect was lost by three months, and no effect was detected in older animals. Our results demonstrate that the extended lifespan of HET3 mice on a rapamycin diet occurs in the absence of major changes in insulin sensitivity, and highlight the importance of strain background and delivery method in testing effects of longevity interventions.
PMCID: PMC3727050  PMID: 23648089
aging; heterogeneous mice; glucose tolerance; Insulin tolerance; rapamycin
14.  Resveratrol for primary prevention of atherosclerosis: clinical trial evidence for improved gene expression in vascular endothelium 
International journal of cardiology  2012;166(1):246-248.
PMCID: PMC3646959  PMID: 23098852
polyphenol; biomarker; adhesion molecule; inflammation; insulin; red wine
16.  Aging and sleep deprivation induce the unfolded protein response in the pancreas: implications for metabolism 
Aging Cell  2013;13(1):131-141.
Sleep disruption has detrimental effects on glucose metabolism through pathways that remain poorly defined. Although numerous studies have examined the consequences of sleep deprivation (SD) in the brain, few have directly tested its effects on peripheral organs. We examined several tissues in mice for induction of the unfolded protein response (UPR) following acute SD. In young animals, we found a robust induction of BiP in the pancreas, indicating an active UPR. At baseline, pancreata from aged animals exhibited a marked increase in a pro-apoptotic transcription factor, CHOP, that was amplified by SD, whereas BiP induction was not observed, suggesting a maladaptive response to cellular stress with age. Acute SD increased plasma glucose levels in both young and old animals. However, this change was not overtly related to stress in the pancreatic beta cells, as plasma insulin levels were not lower following acute SD. Accordingly, animals subjected to acute SD remained tolerant to a glucose challenge. In a chronic SD experiment, young mice were found to be sensitized to insulin and have improved glycemic control, whereas aged animals became hyperglycemic and failed to maintain appropriate plasma insulin concentrations. Our results show that both age and SD cooperate to induce the UPR in pancreatic tissue. While changes in insulin secretion are unlikely to play a major role in the acute effects of SD, CHOP induction in pancreatic tissues suggests that chronic SD may contribute to the loss or dysfunction of endocrine cells and that these effects may be exacerbated by normal aging.
PMCID: PMC4009977  PMID: 24102714
aging; behavior; glucose tolerance; mouse; sleep deprivation
17.  Rapalogs and mTOR inhibitors as anti-aging therapeutics 
Rapamycin, an inhibitor of mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), has the strongest experimental support to date as a potential anti-aging therapeutic in mammals. Unlike many other compounds that have been claimed to influence longevity, rapamycin has been repeatedly tested in long-lived, genetically heterogeneous mice, in which it extends both mean and maximum life spans. However, the mechanism that accounts for these effects is far from clear, and a growing list of side effects make it doubtful that rapamycin would ultimately be beneficial in humans. This Review discusses the prospects for developing newer, safer anti-aging therapies based on analogs of rapamycin (termed rapalogs) or other approaches targeting mTOR signaling.
PMCID: PMC3582126  PMID: 23454761
18.  Evaluation of Resveratrol, Green Tea Extract, Curcumin, Oxaloacetic Acid, and Medium-Chain Triglyceride Oil on Life Span of Genetically Heterogeneous Mice 
The National Institute on Aging Interventions Testing Program (ITP) was established to evaluate agents that are hypothesized to increase life span and/or health span in genetically heterogeneous mice. Each compound is tested in parallel at three test sites. It is the goal of the ITP to publish all results, negative or positive. We report here on the results of lifelong treatment of mice, beginning at 4 months of age, with each of five agents, that is, green tea extract (GTE), curcumin, oxaloacetic acid, medium-chain triglyceride oil, and resveratrol, on the life span of genetically heterogeneous mice. Each agent was administered beginning at 4 months of age. None of these five agents had a statistically significant effect on life span of male or female mice, by log-rank test, at the concentrations tested, although a secondary analysis suggested that GTE might diminish the risk of midlife deaths in females only.
PMCID: PMC3598361  PMID: 22451473
Longevity; aging; mice; diet; Interventions
19.  Primary Respiratory Chain Disease Causes Tissue-Specific Dysregulation of the Global Transcriptome and Nutrient-Sensing Signaling Network 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69282.
Primary mitochondrial respiratory chain (RC) diseases are heterogeneous in etiology and manifestations but collectively impair cellular energy metabolism. Mechanism(s) by which RC dysfunction causes global cellular sequelae are poorly understood. To identify a common cellular response to RC disease, integrated gene, pathway, and systems biology analyses were performed in human primary RC disease skeletal muscle and fibroblast transcriptomes. Significant changes were evident in muscle across diverse RC complex and genetic etiologies that were consistent with prior reports in other primary RC disease models and involved dysregulation of genes involved in RNA processing, protein translation, transport, and degradation, and muscle structure. Global transcriptional and post-transcriptional dysregulation was also found to occur in a highly tissue-specific fashion. In particular, RC disease muscle had decreased transcription of cytosolic ribosomal proteins suggestive of reduced anabolic processes, increased transcription of mitochondrial ribosomal proteins, shorter 5′-UTRs that likely improve translational efficiency, and stabilization of 3′-UTRs containing AU-rich elements. RC disease fibroblasts showed a strikingly similar pattern of global transcriptome dysregulation in a reverse direction. In parallel with these transcriptional effects, RC disease dysregulated the integrated nutrient-sensing signaling network involving FOXO, PPAR, sirtuins, AMPK, and mTORC1, which collectively sense nutrient availability and regulate cellular growth. Altered activities of central nodes in the nutrient-sensing signaling network were validated by phosphokinase immunoblot analysis in RC inhibited cells. Remarkably, treating RC mutant fibroblasts with nicotinic acid to enhance sirtuin and PPAR activity also normalized mTORC1 and AMPK signaling, restored NADH/NAD+ redox balance, and improved cellular respiratory capacity. These data specifically highlight a common pathogenesis extending across different molecular and biochemical etiologies of individual RC disorders that involves global transcriptome modifications. We further identify the integrated nutrient-sensing signaling network as a common cellular response that mediates, and may be amenable to targeted therapies for, tissue-specific sequelae of primary mitochondrial RC disease.
PMCID: PMC3722174  PMID: 23894440
20.  Rapamycin doses sufficient to extend lifespan do not compromise muscle mitochondrial content or endurance 
Aging (Albany NY)  2013;5(7):539-550.
Rapamycin extends lifespan in mice, but can have a number of undesirable effects that may ultimately limit its utility in humans. The canonical target of rapamycin, and the one thought to account for its effects on lifespan, is the mammalian/mechanistic target of rapamycin, complex 1 (mTORC1). We have previously shown that at least some of the detrimental side effects of rapamycin are due to “off target” disruption of mTORC2, suggesting they could be avoided by more specific targeting of mTORC1. However, mTORC1 inhibition per se can reduce the mRNA expression of mitochondrial genes and compromise the function of mitochondria in cultured muscle cells, implying that defects in bioenergetics might be an unavoidable consequence of targeting mTORC1 in vivo. Therefore, we tested whether rapamycin, at the same doses used to extend lifespan, affects mitochondrial function in skeletal muscle. While mitochondrial transcripts were decreased, particularly in the highly oxidative soleus muscle, we found no consistent change in mitochondrial DNA or protein levels. In agreement with the lack of change in mitochondrial components, rapamycin-treated mice had endurance equivalent to that of untreated controls, and isolated, permeabilized muscle fibers displayed similar rates of oxygen consumption. We conclude that the doses of rapamycin required to extend life do not cause overt mitochondrial dysfunction in skeletal muscle.
PMCID: PMC3765582  PMID: 23929887
Biogenesis; longevity; endurance; sarcopenia; mTOR; PGC-1alpha
21.  SIRT1 is required for AMPK activation and the beneficial effects of resveratrol on mitochondrial function 
Cell metabolism  2012;15(5):675-690.
Resveratrol induces mitochondrial biogenesis and protects against metabolic decline but whether SIRT1 mediates these benefits is the subject of debate. To circumvent the developmental defects of germ-line SIRT1 knockouts, we have developed the first inducible system that permits whole-body deletion of SIRT1 in adult mice. Mice treated with a moderate dose of resveratrol showed increased mitochondrial biogenesis and function, AMPK activation and increased NAD+ levels in skeletal muscle, whereas SIRT1 knockouts displayed none of these benefits. A mouse overexpressing SIRT1 mimicked these effects. A high dose of resveratrol activated AMPK in a SIRT1-independent manner, demonstrating that resveratrol dosage is a critical factor. Importantly, at both doses of resveratrol no improvements in mitochondrial function were observed in animals lacking SIRT1. Together these data indicate that SIRT1 plays an essential role in the ability of moderate doses of resveratrol to stimulate AMPK and improve mitochondrial function both in vitro and in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3545644  PMID: 22560220
22.  Challenges of Translating Basic Research Into Therapeutics: Resveratrol as an Example 
Basic science literature abounds with molecules that promise to ameliorate almost any disease, from curing cancer to slowing the aging process itself. However, most of these compounds will never even be evaluated in humans, let alone proven effective. Here, we use resveratrol as an example to highlight the enormous difficulties in understanding pharmacokinetics, determining side effects, and, ultimately, establishing mechanisms of action for a natural compound. Despite extensive interest and effort, and continuing promising results from basic science groups, very little is known even today about the effects of resveratrol in humans. Part of the problem is the unattractiveness of natural compounds to large, well-funded companies that could run clinical trials because developing their own molecules affords much greater protection for their intellectual property. In fact, selling unpatentable material motivates smaller nutraceutical companies to complicate the scientific problem even more—each creates its own proprietary blend, making it extremely difficult to compare their data with those of other companies, or of academic labs using pure compounds. But even beyond these problems lies a deeper one; resveratrol, and almost every natural compound, is likely to have many clinically relevant targets with different dose–response profiles, tissue distributions, and modifiers. Tackling this type of problem efficiently, and even beginning to address the spectrum of other molecules with claimed benefits, is likely to require the development of new paradigms and approaches. Examples include better molecular modeling to predict interactions, large-scale screens for toxic or other common effects, affinity-based methods to identify drug-interacting proteins, and better synthesis of existing data, including legislation to promote the release of trial results, and tracking of voluntary supplement usage. The evidence for benefits of resveratrol in humans remains too sparse to be conclusive; yet, the limited data that are available, combined with a growing list of animal studies, provide a strong justification for further study.
PMCID: PMC3261440  PMID: 21746739
Clinical trials; Translational; Nutraceutical; Metabolism; Polyphenol
24.  Design and synthesis of compounds that extend yeast replicative lifespan 
Aging cell  2006;6(1):35-43.
This past decade has seen the identification of numerous conserved genes that extend lifespan in diverse species, yet the number of compounds that extend lifespan is relatively small. A class of compounds called STACs, which were identified as activators of Sir2/SIRT1 NAD+-dependent deacetylases, extend the lifespans of multiple species in a Sir2-dependent manner and can delay the onset of age-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes and neurodegeneration in model organisms. Plant-derived STACs such as fisetin and resveratrol have several liabilities, including poor stability and relatively low potency as SIRT1 activators. To develop improved STACs, stilbene derivatives with modifications at the 4′ position of the B ring were synthesized using a Horner-Emmons-based synthetic route or by hydrolyzing deoxyrhapontin. Here, we describe synthetic STACs with lower toxicity toward human cells, and higher potency with respect to SIRT1 activation and lifespan extension in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. These studies show that it is possible to improve upon naturally occurring STACs based on a number of criteria including lifespan extension.
PMCID: PMC3545651  PMID: 17156081
lifespan; longevity; resveratrol; SIRT1; sirtuins; STACs
25.  Rapamycin has a biphasic effect on insulin sensitivity in C2C12 myotubes due to sequential disruption of mTORC1 and mTORC2 
Frontiers in Genetics  2012;3:177.
Rapamycin, an inhibitor of mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1), improves insulin sensitivity in acute studies in vitro and in vivo by disrupting a negative feedback loop mediated by S6 kinase. We find that rapamycin has a clear biphasic effect on insulin sensitivity in C2C12 myotubes, with enhanced responsiveness during the first hour that declines to almost complete insulin resistance by 24–48 h. We and others have recently observed that chronic rapamycin treatment induces insulin resistance in rodents, at least in part due to disruption of mTORC2, an mTOR-containing complex that is not acutely sensitive to the drug. Chronic rapamycin treatment may also impair insulin action via the inhibition of mTORC1-dependent mitochondrial biogenesis and activity, which could result in a buildup of lipid intermediates that are known to trigger insulin resistance. We confirmed that rapamycin inhibits expression of PGC-1α, a key mitochondrial transcription factor, and acutely reduces respiration rate in myotubes. However, rapamycin did not stimulate phosphorylation of PKCθ, a central mediator of lipid-induced insulin resistance. Instead, we found dramatic disruption of mTORC2, which coincided with the onset of insulin resistance. Selective inhibition of mTORC1 or mTORC2 by shRNA-mediated knockdown of specific components (Raptor and Rictor, respectively) confirmed that mitochondrial effects of rapamycin are mTORC1-dependent, whereas insulin resistance was recapitulated only by knockdown of mTORC2. Thus, mTORC2 disruption, rather than inhibition of mitochondria, causes insulin resistance in rapamycin-treated myotubes, and this system may serve as a useful model to understand the effects of rapamycin on mTOR signaling in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3438685  PMID: 22973301
mTOR; mTORC1; rapamycin; mTORC2; insulin sensitivity; mitochondrial biogenesis; chronic; diabetes; raptor; rictor; respiration

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