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.
healthspan; inflammation; lifespan; muscle wasting; osteoporosis; sirtuins
The prevention or delay of the onset of age-related diseases prolongs survival and improves quality of life while reducing the burden on the health care system. Activation of sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), an NAD+ deacetylase, improves metabolism and confers protection against physiological and cognitive disturbances in old age. SRT1720 is a specific SIRT1 activator that has health and lifespan benefits in adult mice fed a high-fat diet. We found extension in lifespan, delayed onset of age-related metabolic diseases, and improved general health in mice fed a standard diet after SRT1720 supplementation. Inhibition of pro-inflammatory gene expression both in the liver and muscle of SRT1720-treated animals was noted. SRT1720 lowered phosphorylation of NF-κB pathway regulators in vitro only when SIRT1 was functionally present. Combined with our previous work, the current study further supports the beneficial effects of SRT1720 on health across the lifespan in mice.
SRT1720; healthspan; standard diet; mice; longevity; SIRT1
Metformin is a drug commonly prescribed to treat patients with type 2 diabetes. Here we show that long-term treatment with metformin (0.1% w/w in diet) starting at middle age extends healthspan and lifespan in male mice, while a higher dose (1% w/w) was toxic. Treatment with metformin mimics some of the benefits of calorie restriction, such as improved physical performance, increased insulin sensitivity, and reduced LDL and cholesterol levels without a decrease in caloric intake. At a molecular level, metformin increases AMP-activated protein kinase activity and increases antioxidant protection, resulting in reductions in both oxidative damage accumulation and chronic inflammation. Our results indicate that these actions may contribute to the beneficial effects of metformin on healthspan and lifespan. These findings are in agreement with current epidemiological data and raise the possibility of metformin-based interventions to promote healthy aging.
Cells from Cockayne syndrome patients and a mouse model of the disease show increased metabolism as a result of impaired autophagy-mediated removal of damaged mitochondria.
Cockayne syndrome (CS) is a devastating autosomal recessive disease characterized by neurodegeneration, cachexia, and accelerated aging. 80% of the cases are caused by mutations in the CS complementation group B (CSB) gene known to be involved in DNA repair and transcription. Recent evidence indicates that CSB is present in mitochondria, where it associates with mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). We report an increase in metabolism in the CSBm/m mouse model and CSB-deficient cells. Mitochondrial content is increased in CSB-deficient cells, whereas autophagy is down-regulated, presumably as a result of defects in the recruitment of P62 and mitochondrial ubiquitination. CSB-deficient cells show increased free radical production and an accumulation of damaged mitochondria. Accordingly, treatment with the autophagic stimulators lithium chloride or rapamycin reverses the bioenergetic phenotype of CSB-deficient cells. Our data imply that CSB acts as an mtDNA damage sensor, inducing mitochondrial autophagy in response to stress, and that pharmacological modulators of autophagy are potential treatment options for this accelerated aging phenotype.
Calorie restriction (CR) is known to have profound effects on tumor incidence. A typical consequence of CR is hunger, and we hypothesized that the neuroendocrine response to CR might in part mediate CR's antitumor effects. We tested CR under appetite suppression using two models: neuropeptide Y (NPY) knockout mice and monosodium glutamate (MSG)-injected mice. While CR was protective in control mice challenged with a two-stage skin carcinogenesis model, papilloma development was neither delayed nor reduced by CR in the MSG-treated and NPY knockout mice. Adiponectin levels were also not increased by CR in the appetite-suppressed mice. We propose that some of CR’s beneficial effects cannot be separated from those imposed on appetite, and that NPY neurons in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus (ARC) are involved in the translation of reduced intake to downstream physiological and functional benefits.
calorie restriction; hypothalamus; MSG; neuroendocrine; NPY; tumorigenesis
Sirt1 is an NAD+-dependent deacetylase that extends lifespan in lower organisms and improves metabolism and delays the onset of age-related diseases in mammals. Here we show that SRT1720, a synthetic compound that was identified for its ability to activate Sirt1 in vitro, extends both mean and maximum lifespan of adult mice fed a high-fat diet. This lifespan extension is accompanied by health benefits including reduced liver steatosis, increased insulin sensitivity, enhanced locomotor activity and normalization of gene expression profiles and markers of inflammation and apoptosis, all in the absence of any observable toxicity. Using a conditional SIRT1 knockout mouse and specific gene knockdowns we show SRT1720 affects mitochondrial respiration in a Sirt1- and PGC-1α-dependent manner. These findings indicate that SRT1720 has long-term benefits and demonstrate for the first time the feasibility of designing novel molecules that are safe and effective in promoting longevity and preventing multiple age-related diseases in mammals.
The societal impact of obesity, diabetes, and other metabolic disorders continues to rise despite increasing evidence of their negative long-term consequences on health span, longevity, and aging. Unfortunately, dietary management and exercise frequently fail as remedies, underscoring the need for the development of alternative interventions to successfully treat metabolic disorders and enhance life span and health span. Using calorie restriction (CR)—which is well known to improve both health and longevity in controlled studies—as their benchmark, gerontologists are coming closer to identifying dietary and pharmacological therapies that may be applicable to aging humans. This review covers some of the more promising interventions targeted to affect pathways implicated in the aging process as well as variations on classical CR that may be better suited to human adaptation.
Aging intervention; Health span; Life span; Metformin; Resveratrol
Calorie restriction (CR), the purposeful reduction of energy intake with maintenance of adequate micronutrient intake, is well known to extend the lifespan of laboratory animals. Compounds like 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2DG) that can recapitulate the metabolic effects of CR are of great interest for their potential to extend lifespan. 2DG treatment has been shown to have potential therapeutic benefits for treating cancer and seizures. 2DG has also recapitulated some hallmarks of the CR phenotype including reduced body temperature and circulating insulin in short-term rodent trials, but one chronic feeding study in rats found toxic effects. The present studies were performed to further explore the long-term effects of 2DG in vivo. First we demonstrate that 2DG increases mortality of male Fischer-344 rats. Increased incidence of pheochromocytoma in the adrenal medulla was also noted in the 2DG treated rats. We reconfirm the cardiotoxicity of 2DG in a 6-week follow-up study evaluating male Brown Norway rats and a natural form of 2DG in addition to again examining effects in Fischer-344 rats and the original synthetic 2DG. High levels of both 2DG sources reduced weight gain secondary to reduced food intake in both strains. Histopathological analysis of the hearts revealed increasing vacuolarization of cardiac myocytes with dose, and tissue staining revealed the vacuoles were free of both glycogen and lipid. We did, however, observe higher expression of both cathepsin D and LC3 in the hearts of 2DG-treated rats which indicates an increase in autophagic flux. Although a remarkable CR-like phenotype can be reproduced with 2DG treatment, the ultimate toxicity of 2DG seriously challenges 2DG as a potential CR mimetic in mammals and also raises concerns about other therapeutic applications of the compound.
Deoxyglucose; Calorie restriction; Lifespan; Mortality; Cardiac vacuolarization
The activity and expression of plasma membrane NADH coenzyme Q reductase is increased by calorie restriction (CR) in rodents. Although this effect is well established and is necessary for CR's ability to delay aging, the mechanism is unknown. Here we show that the Saccharomyces cerevisiae homolog, NQR1, resides at the plasma membrane and when overexpressed extends both replicative and chronological lifespan. We show that NQR1 extends replicative lifespan in a SIR2-dependent manner by shifting cells towards respiratory metabolism. Chronological lifespan extension, in contrast, occurs via a SIR2-independent decrease in ethanol production. We conclude that NQR1 is a key mediator of lifespan extension by CR through its effects on yeast metabolism and discuss how these findings could suggest a function for this protein in lifespan extension in mammals.
Plasma membrane; coenzyme Q reductase; NQR1; coenzyme Q; replicative lifespan; chronological lifespan; dietary restriction
Laboratory studies consistently demonstrate extended lifespan in animals on calorie restriction (CR), where total caloric intake is reduced by 10–40% but adequate nutrition is otherwise maintained. CR has been further shown to delay the onset and severity of chronic diseases associated with aging such as cancer, and to extend the functional health span of important functions including cognition. Less understood are the underlying mechanisms through which CR might act to induce such alterations. One theory postulates that CR’s beneficial effects are intimately tied to the neuroendocrine response to low energy availability, of which the arcuate nucleus in the hypothalamus plays a pivotal role. Neuropeptide Y (NPY), a neurotransmitter in the front line of the arcuate response to low energy availability, is the primary hunger signal affected by CR and therefore may be a critical mechanism for lifespan extension.
NPY; Calorie restriction; Lifespan; Appetite; Hypothalamus; 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.