Aging is the main risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD); however, the aspects of the aging process that predispose the brain to the development of AD are largely unknown. Astrocytes perform a myriad of functions in the central nervous system to maintain homeostasis and support neuronal function. In vitro, human astrocytes are highly sensitive to oxidative stress and trigger a senescence program when faced with multiple types of stress. In order to determine whether senescent astrocytes appear in vivo, brain tissue from aged individuals and patients with AD was examined for the presence of senescent astrocytes using p16INK4a and matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) expression as markers of senescence. Compared with fetal tissue samples (n = 4), a significant increase in p16INK4a-positive astrocytes was observed in subjects aged 35 to 50 years (n = 6; P = 0.02) and 78 to 90 years (n = 11; P<10−6). In addition, the frontal cortex of AD patients (n = 15) harbored a significantly greater burden of p16INK4a-positive astrocytes compared with non-AD adult control subjects of similar ages (n = 25; P = 0.02) and fetal controls (n = 4; P<10−7). Consistent with the senescent nature of the p16INK4a-positive astrocytes, increased metalloproteinase MMP-1 correlated with p16INK4a. In vitro, beta-amyloid 1–42 (Aβ1–42) triggered senescence, driving the expression of p16INK4a and senescence-associated beta-galactosidase. In addition, we found that senescent astrocytes produce a number of inflammatory cytokines including interleukin-6 (IL-6), which seems to be regulated by p38MAPK. We propose that an accumulation of p16INK4a-positive senescent astrocytes may link increased age and increased risk for sporadic AD.
With the advancement of age, skeletal muscle undergoes a progressive decline in mass, function, and regenerative capacity. Previously, our laboratory has reported an age-reduction in recovery and local induction of IGF-I gene expression with age following tourniquet (TK)-induced skeletal muscle ischemia/reperfusion (I/R). In this study, young (6 mo) and old (24–28 mo) mice were subjected to 2 hours of TK-induced ischemia of the hindlimb followed by 1, 3, 5, or 7 days of reperfusion. Real time-PCR analysis revealed clear age-related reductions and temporal alterations in the expression of IGF-I and individual IGF-I Ea and Eb splice variants. ELISA verified a reduction of IGF-I peptide with age following 7 days recovery from TK. Western blotting showed that the phosphorylation of Akt, mTOR, and FoxO3, all indicators of anabolic activity, were reduced in the muscles of old mice. These data indicate an age-related impairment of IGF-I expression and intracellular signaling does exist following injury, and potentially has a role in the impaired recovery of skeletal muscle with age.
Tourniquet; sarcopenia; muscle regeneration; mTOR; FoxO
We have examined the tolerance of the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC), as measured by the appearance of tetraploid cells in the presence of a microtubule inhibitor, in a series of primary cell strains derived from species with diverse lifespan and body size. We find that the integrity of the SAC varies among these species. There is a robust correlation between the integrity of the SAC and body size, but poor correlation with longevity and parameters of species development (i.e., time of female fertility, gestation length, and postnatal growth rate). The results suggest that fidelity of the SAC co-evolved more closely with the number of mitoses needed to reach adulthood than with species lifespan.
tetraploid; mitosis; fibroblasts; mouse; human; stability; genome; lifespan; aging
The Ku70/80 heterodimer is central to non-homologous end joining repair of DNA double-strand breaks and the Ku80 gene appears to be essential for human but not rodent cell survival. The Ku70/80 heterodimer is located at telomeres but its precise function in telomere maintenance is not known. In order to examine the role of Ku80 beyond DNA repair in more detail, we have taken a knockdown approach using a human fibroblast strain. Following targeted Ku80 knockdown, telomere defects are observed and the steady state levels of the TRF2 protein are reduced. Inhibitor studies indicate that this loss of TRF2 is mediated by the proteasome and degradation of TRF2 following Ku depletion appears to involve a decrease in chromatin binding of TRF2, suggesting that the Ku heterodimer enhances TRF2 chromatin association and that non-chromatin bound TRF2 is targeted to the proteasome.
Ku80; TRF2; chromatin; telomere; fibroblast
Faithful repair of damaged DNA is a crucial process in maintaining cell viability and function. A multitude of factors and pathways guides this process and includes repair proteins and cell cycle checkpoint factors. Differences in the maintenance of genomic processes are one feature that may contribute to species-specific differences in lifespan. We predicted that 53BP1, a key transducer of the DNA damage response and cell cycle checkpoint control, is highly involved in maintaining genomic stability and may function differently in cells from different species. We demonstrate a difference in the levels and recruitment of 53BP1 in mouse and human cells following DNA damage. In addition, we show that unresolved DNA damage persists more in mouse cells than in human cells, as evidenced by increased numbers of micronuclei. The difference in micronuclei seems to be related to the levels of 53BP1 present in cells. Finally, we present evidence that unresolved DNA damage correlates with species lifespan. Taken together, these studies suggest a link between recruitment of 53BP1, resolution of DNA damage, and increased species lifespan.
53BP1; micronuclei; fibroblasts; mouse; human; stability; genome
The identification of the cellular mechanisms responsible for the wide differences in species lifespan remains one of the major unsolved problems of the biology of aging. We measured the capacity of nuclear protein to recognize DNA double strand breaks (DSB) and telomere length of skin fibroblasts derived from mammalian species that exhibit wide differences in longevity. Our results indicate DNA DSB recognition increases exponentially with longevity. Further, an analysis of the level of Ku80 protein in human, cow, and mouse suggests that Ku levels vary dramatically between species and these levels are strongly correlated with longevity. In contrast mean telomere length appears to decrease with increasing longevity of the species, although not significantly. These findings suggest that an enhanced ability to bind to DNA-ends may be important for longevity. A number of possible roles for increased levels of Ku and DNA-PKcs are discussed.
Species life-span; DNA-end binding activity; telomere length; DNA double-strand break repair; Ku protein
The insulin-like growth factor type 1 (IGF-I) plays an important role in neuronal physiology. Reduced IGF-I levels are observed during aging and this decrease may be important to age-related changes in the brain. We studied the effects of IGF-I on total protein oxidation in brain tissues and in cell cultures. Our results indicate that in frontal cortex the level of oxidized proteins is significantly reduced in transgenic mice designed to overproduce IGF-I compared with wild-type animals. The frontal cortex of IGF-I-overproducing mice exhibited high chymotrypsin-like activity of the 20S and 26S proteasomes. The proteasome can also be activated in response to IGF-I in cell cultures. Kinetic studies revealed peak activation of the proteasome within 15 min following IGF-I stimulation. The effects of IGF-I on proteasome were not observed in R- cells lacking the IGF-I receptor. Experiments using specific kinase inhibitors suggested that activation of proteasome by IGF-I involves phosphatidyl inositol 3-kinase and mammalian target of rapamycin signaling. IGF-I also attenuated the increase in protein carbonyl content induced by proteasome inhibition. Thus, appropriate levels of IGF-I may be important for the elimination of oxidized proteins in the brain in a process mediated by activation of the proteasome.
Insulin-like growth factor-I; Proteasome; Aging; Brain; Protein oxidation
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.
The gene encoding integrator complex subunit 6 (INTS6), previously known as deleted in cancer cells 1 (DICE1, OMIM 604331) was found to be frequently affected by allelic deletion and promoter hypermethylation in prostate cancer specimens and cell lines. A missense mutation has been detected in prostate cancer cell line LNCaP. Together, these results suggest INTS6/DICE1 as a putative tumor suppressor gene in prostate cancer. In this study, we examined the growth inhibitory effects of INTS6/DICE1 on prostate cancer cells.
Markedly decreased INTS6/DICE1 mRNA levels were detected in prostate cancer cell lines LNCaP, DU145 and PC3 as well as CPTX1532 as compared to a cell line derived from normal prostate tissue, NPTX1532. Exogenous re-expression of INTS6/DICE1 cDNA in androgen-independent PC3 and DU145 cell lines substantially suppressed their ability to form colonies in vitro. This growth inhibition was not due to immediate induction of apoptosis. Rather, prostate cancer cells arrested in G1 phase of the cell cycle. Expression profiling of members of the Wnt signaling pathway revealed up-regulation of several genes including disheveled inhibitor CXXC finger 4 (CXXC4), frizzled homologue 7 (FZD7), transcription factor 7-like 1 (TCF7L1), and down-regulation of cyclin D1.
These results show for the first time a link between INTS6/DICE1 function, cell cycle regulation and cell-cell communication involving members of the Wnt signaling pathway.
Although ras mutations have been shown to affect epithelial architecture and polarity, their role in altering tight junctions remains unclear. Transfection of a valine-12 mutated ras construct into LLC-PK1 renal epithelia produces leakiness of tight junctions to certain types of solutes. Transepithelial permeability of d-mannitol increases sixfold but transepithelial electrical resistance increases >40%. This indicates decreased paracellular permeability to NaCl but increased permeability to nonelectrolytes. Permeability increases to d-mannitol (Mr 182), polyethylene glycol (Mr 4000), and 10,000-Mr methylated dextran but not to 2,000,000-Mr methylated dextran. This implies a “ceiling” on the size of solutes that can cross a ras-mutated epithelial barrier and therefore that the increased permeability is not due to loss of cells or junctions. Although the abundance of claudin-2 declined to undetectable levels in the ras-overexpressing cells compared with vector controls, levels of occludin and claudins 1, 4, and 7 increased. The abundance of claudins-3 and -5 remained unchanged. An increase in extracellular signal-regulated kinase-2 phosphorylation suggests that the downstream effects on the tight junction may be due to changes in the mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway. These selective changes in permeability may influence tumorigenesis by the types of solutes now able to cross the epithelial barrier.