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1.  E47 retroviral rescue of intrinsic B-cell defects in senescent mice 
Aging cell  2011;10(2):327-337.
In aging, immune responses are dramatically impaired, specifically the ability to produce protective antibodies. We previously showed that with age there is a B-cell intrinsic decrease in class switch recombination (CSR) because of a decrease in activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID). One mechanism we have demonstrated for decreased AID includes increased mRNA degradation of the transcription factor E47, critical for AID transcription. Here, we show by means of a retroviral construct containing the DsRED reporter and the 3′UTR of E47 that the 3′UTR lowers mRNA expression, and particularly in B cells from old mice. This is the first demonstration that the E47 3′UTR directly regulates its degradation. The AID mRNA was not differentially regulated by degradation in aging. Therefore, we have here further established critical components for decreased AID with age. The major aim of this study was to establish conditions for the rescue of the intrinsic defect of aged B cells with retroviral addition of the coding region of E47 in splenic B cells to restore their ability to produce optimal AID and class switch to IgG. In this study, we show that young and old primary B cells overexpressing a stable E47 mRNA up-regulate E47, AID, and CSR and improve B-cell immune responses in senescent murine B cells. Our results provide a proof of principle for the rescue of intrinsic B-cell defects and the humoral immune response in senescence.
PMCID: PMC4710514  PMID: 21241451
aging; B cells; Ig class switch; transcription factors
2.  Shc depletion stimulates brown fat activity in-vivo and in-vitro 
Aging cell  2014;13(6):1049-1058.
Adipose tissue is an important metabolic organ that integrates a wide array of homeostatic processes and is crucial for whole-body insulin sensitivity and energy metabolism. Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a key thermogenic tissue with a well-established role in energy expenditure. BAT dissipates energy, and protects against both hypothermia and obesity. Thus, BAT stimulation therapy is a rational strategy for the looming pandemic of obesity, whose consequences and comorbidities have a huge impact on the aged. Shc-deficient mice (ShcKO) were previously shown to be lean, insulin-sensitive, and resistant to high-fat diet and obesity. We investigated the contribution of BAT to this phenotype. Insulin-dependent BAT glucose uptake was higher in ShcKO mice. Primary ShcKO BAT cells exhibited increased mitochondrial respiration; increased expression of several mitochondrial and lipid-oxidative enzymes was observed in ShcKO BAT. Levels of brown fat-specific markers of differentiation, UCP1, PRDM16, ELOVL3, Cox8b, were higher in ShcKO BAT. In-vitro, Shc knockdown in BAT cell line increased insulin sensitivity and metabolic activity. In-vivo, pharmacological stimulation of ShcKO BAT resulted in higher energy expenditure. Conversely, pharmacological inhibition of BAT abolished the improved metabolic parameters, i.e. the increased insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance of ShcKO mice. Similarly, in-vitro Shc knockdown in BAT cell lines increased their expression of UCP1 and metabolic activity. These data suggest increased BAT activity significantly contributes to the improved metabolic phenotype of ShcKO mice.
PMCID: PMC4244234  PMID: 25257068
Healthy ageing; Brown adipose; BAT; Insulin; Shc; Energy Expenditure
3.  Increased Lipocalin-2 in the retinal pigment epithelium of Cryba1 cKO mice is associated with a chronic inflammatory response 
Aging cell  2014;13(6):1091-1094.
Although chronic inflammation is believed to contribute to the pathology of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), knowledge regarding the events that elicit the change from para-inflammation to chronic inflammation in the pathogenesis of AMD is lacking. We propose here that lipocalin-2 (LCN2), a mammalian innate immunity protein that is trafficked to the lysosomes, may contribute to this process. It accumulates significantly with age in retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells of Cryba1 conditional knockout (cKO) mice, but not in control mice. We have recently shown that these mice, which lack βA3/A1-crystallin specifically in RPE, have defective lysosomal clearance. The age-related increase in LCN2 in the cKO mice is accompanied by increases in chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2), reactive gliosis, and immune cell infiltration. LCN2 may contribute to induction of a chronic inflammatory response in this mouse model with AMD-like pathology.
PMCID: PMC4244249  PMID: 25257511
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD); Cryba1 cKO mice, Inflammation; Lipocalin-2; Lysosomes; Retinal pigment epithelium (RPE)
4.  Growth hormone signaling is necessary for lifespan extension by dietary methionine 
Aging cell  2014;13(6):1019-1027.
Growth hormone significantly impacts lifespan in mammals. Mouse longevity is extended when growth hormone (GH) signaling is interrupted but markedly shortened with high plasma hormone levels. Methionine metabolism is enhanced in growth hormone deficiency, e.g. Ames dwarf, but suppressed in GH transgenic mice. Methionine intake affects also lifespan, thus, GH mutant mice and respective wild type littermates were fed 0.16%, 0.43% or 1.3% methionine to evaluate the interaction between hormone status and methionine. All wild type and GH transgenic mice lived longer when fed 0.16% methionine but not when fed higher levels. In contrast, animals without growth hormone signaling due to hormone deficiency or resistance, did not respond to altered levels of methionine in terms of lifespan, body weight or food consumption. Taken together, our results suggest that the presence of growth hormone is necessary to sense dietary methionine changes thus, strongly linking growth and lifespan to amino acid availability.
PMCID: PMC4244257  PMID: 25234161
dwarf; lifespan; methionine; growth hormone; mice
5.  Astrocytic Metabolic and Inflammatory Changes as a Function of Age 
Aging cell  2014;13(6):1059-1067.
This study examines age-dependent metabolic-inflammatory axis in primary astrocytes isolated from brain cortices of 7-, 13-, and 18 month-old Sprague Dawley male rats. Astrocytes showed an age-dependent increase in mitochondrial oxidative metabolism respiring on glucose and/or pyruvate substrates; this increase in mitochondrial oxidative metabolism was accompanied by increases of COX3/18SrDNA values, thus suggesting an enhanced mitochondrial biogenesis. Enhanced mitochondrial respiration in astrocytes limits the substrate supply from astrocytes to neurons; this may be viewed as an adaptive mechanism to altered cellular inflammatory-redox environment with age. These metabolic changes were associated with an age-dependent increase in hydrogen peroxide generation (largely ascribed to an enhanced expression of NOX2) and NFκB signaling in the cytosol as well as its translocation to the nucleus. Astrocytes also displayed augmented responses with age to inflammatory cytokines, IL-1β and TNFα. Activation of NFκB signaling resulted in increased expression of nitric oxide synthase 2 (inducible nitric oxide synthase), leading to elevated nitric oxide production. IL-1β and TNFα treatment stimulated mitochondrial oxidative metabolism and mitochondrial biogenesis in astrocytes. It may be surmised that increased mitochondrial aerobic metabolism and inflammatory responses are interconnected and support the functionality switch of astrocytes, from neurotrophic to neurotoxic with age.
PMCID: PMC4244278  PMID: 25233945
astrocytes; inflammation; mitochondria; mitochondrial biogenesis; cytokines; nitric oxide; hydrogen peroxide; NFκB
6.  Dietary restriction involves NAD+-dependent mechanisms and a shift towards oxidative metabolism 
Aging cell  2014;13(6):1075-1085.
Interventions that slow aging and prevent chronic disease may come from an understanding of how dietary restriction (DR) increases lifespan. Mechanisms proposed to mediate DR longevity include reduced mTOR signaling, activation of the NAD+-dependent deacylases known as sirtuins, and increases in NAD+ that derive from higher levels of respiration. Here we explored these hypotheses in Caenorhabditis elegans using a new liquid feeding protocol. DR lifespan extension depended upon a group of regulators that are involved in stress responses and mTOR signaling, and have been implicated in DR by some other regimens (DAF-16 (FOXO), SKN-1 (Nrf1/2/3), PHA-4 (FOXA), AAK-2 (AMPK)). Complete DR lifespan extension required the sirtuin SIR-2.1 (SIRT1), the involvement of which in DR has been debated. The nicotinamidase PNC-1, a key NAD+ salvage pathway component, was largely required for DR to increase lifespan but not two healthspan indicators: movement and stress resistance. Independently of pnc-1, DR increased the proportion of respiration that is coupled to ATP production but, surprisingly, reduced overall oxygen consumption. We conclude that stress response and NAD+-dependent mechanisms are each critical for DR lifespan extension, although some healthspan benefits do not require NAD+ salvage. Under DR conditions, NAD+-dependent processes may be supported by a DR-induced shift towards oxidative metabolism rather than an increase in total respiration.
PMCID: PMC4244309  PMID: 25257342
aging; dietary restriction; C. elegans; stress response; sirtuins; NAD+
7.  Towards a gene expression biomarker set for human biological age 
Aging cell  2013;12(2):324-326.
We have previously described a statistical model capable of distinguishing young (age<65yrs) from old (age≥75yrs) individuals. Here we studied the performance of a modified model in three populations and determined whether individuals predicted to be biologically younger than their chronological age had biochemical and functional measures consistent with a younger biological age. Those with ‘younger’ gene expression patterns demonstrated higher muscle strength and serum albumin, and lower interleukin-6 and blood urea concentrations relative to ‘biologically older’ individuals (odds ratios 1.05, 1.13, 0.61, 0.98; p=3.2×10−2, 2.7×10−4, 1.1×10−2, 2.6×10−2 respectively). We conclude that our expression signature of age is robust across three populations and may have utility for estimation of biological age.
PMCID: PMC4623317  PMID: 23311345
Biological aging; mRNA expression; cell senescence; predictive model
8.  The involvement of human RECQL4 in DNA double strand break repair 
Aging cell  2010;9(3):358-371.
Rothmund-Thomson syndrome (RTS) is an autosomal recessive hereditary disorder associated with mutation in RECQL4 gene, a member of the human RecQ helicases. The disease is characterized by genomic instability, skeletal abnormalities and predisposition to malignant tumors, especially osteosarcomas. The precise role of RECQL4 in cellular pathways is largely unknown, however recent evidence suggest its involvement in multiple DNA metabolic pathways. This study investigates the roles of RECQL4 in DNA double strand break (DSB) repair. The results show that RECQL4-deficient fibroblasts are moderately sensitive to γ-irradiation and accumulate more γH2AX and 53BP1 foci than control fibroblasts. This is suggestive of defects in efficient repair of DSB’s in the RECQL4 deficient fibroblasts. Real time imaging of live cells using laser confocal microscopy show that RECQL4 is recruited early to laser induced DSBs and remains for a shorter duration than WRN and BLM indicating its distinct role in repair of DSBs. Endogenous RECQL4 also colocalizes with γH2AX at the site of DSBs. The RECQL4 domain responsible for its DNA damage localization has been mapped to the unique N-terminus domain between amino acids 363–492, which shares no homology to recruitment domains of WRN and BLM to the DSBs. Further, the recruitment of RECQL4 to laser induced DNA damage is independent of functional WRN, BLM or ATM proteins. These results suggest distinct cellular dynamics for RECQL4 protein at the site of laser induced DSB and that it might play important roles in efficient repair of DSB’s.
PMCID: PMC4624395  PMID: 20222902
RecQ helicase; Rothmund-Thomson syndrome (RTS); Werner syndrome (WRN); Bloom syndrome (BLM); Double strand break repair; Premature aging
9.  mTORC2-SGK-1 acts in two environmentally-responsive pathways with opposing effects on longevity 
Aging cell  2014;13(5):869-878.
The nematode worm C. elegans provides a powerful system for elucidating how genetic, metabolic, nutritional, and environmental factors influence aging. The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase is important in growth, disease, and aging, and is present in the mTORC1 and mTORC2 complexes. In diverse eukaryotes, lifespan can be increased by inhibition of mTORC1, which transduces anabolic signals to stimulate protein synthesis and inhibit autophagy. Less is understood about mTORC2, which affects C. elegans lifespan in a complex manner that is influenced by the bacterial food source. mTORC2 regulates C. elegans growth, reproduction, and lipid metabolism by activating the SGK-1 kinase, but current data on SGK-1 and lifespan seem to be conflicting. Here, by analyzing the mTORC2 component Rictor (RICT-1), we show that mTORC2 modulates longevity by activating SGK-1 in two pathways that affect lifespan oppositely. RICT-1/mTORC2 limits longevity by directing SGK-1 to inhibit the stress response transcription factor SKN-1/Nrf in the intestine. Signals produced by the bacterial food source determine how this pathway affects SKN-1 and lifespan. In addition, RICT-1/mTORC2 functions in neurons in an SGK-1-mediated pathway that increases lifespan at lower temperatures. RICT-1/mTORC2 and SGK-1 therefore oppose or accelerate aging depending upon the context in which they are active. Our findings reconcile data on SGK-1 and aging, show that the bacterial microenvironment influences SKN-1/Nrf, mTORC2 functions, and aging, and identify two longevity-related mTORC2 functions that involve SGK-regulated responses to environmental cues.
PMCID: PMC4172656  PMID: 25040785
mTORC2; rictor; SGK; SKN-1/Nrf; aging; microbiome
10.  Shared signatures of social stress and aging in PBMC gene expression profiles 
Aging cell  2014;13(5):954-957.
Chronic social stress is a predictor of both aging-related disease and mortality risk. Hence, chronic stress has been hypothesized to directly exacerbate the process of physiological aging. Here we evaluated this hypothesis at the level of gene regulation. We compared two data sets of genome-wide gene expression levels in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs): one that captured aging effects and another that focused on chronic social stress. Overall, we found that the direction, although not necessarily the magnitude, of significant gene expression changes tends to be shared between the two data sets. This overlap was observable at three levels: i) individual genes; ii) general functional categories of genes; and iii) molecular pathways implicated in aging. However, we also found evidence that heterogeneity in PBMC composition limits the power to detect more extensive similarities, suggesting that our findings reflect an underestimate of the degree to which age and social stress influence gene regulation in parallel. Cell type-specific data on gene regulation will be important to overcome this limitation in future studies.
PMCID: PMC4172541  PMID: 24956926
aging; social stress; gene expression
11.  IGF-I Regulates the Age-Dependent Signaling Peptide Humanin 
Aging cell  2014;13(5):958-961.
Aging is influenced by endocrine pathways including the growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor-1 (GH/IGF) axis. Mitochondrial function has also been linked to the aging process, but the relevant mitochondrial signals mediating the effects of mitochondria are poorly understood. Humanin is a novel signaling peptide that acts as a potent regulator of cellular stress responses and protects from a variety of in vitro and in vivo toxic and metabolic insults. The circulating levels of humanin decline with age in mice and humans. Here we demonstrate a negative correlation between the activity of the GH-IGF axis and the levels of humanin, as well as a positive correlation between humanin and lifespan in mouse models with altered GH/IGF-I axis. Long-lived, GH-deficient Ames mice displayed elevated humanin levels, while short-lived GH-transgenic mice have reduced humanin levels. Furthermore, treatment with GH or IGF-I reduced circulating humanin levels in both mice and human subjects. Our results indicate that GH and IGF are potent regulators of humanin levels and that humanin levels correlate with lifespan in mice. This suggests that humanin represents a circulating mitochondrial signal that participates in modulating the aging process, adding a coordinated mitochondrial element to the endocrine regulation of aging.
PMCID: PMC4172517  PMID: 25040290
Humanin; growth hormone; IGF-I; longevity; aging
12.  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
13.  A genomics approach identifies senescence-specific gene expression regulation 
Aging cell  2014;13(5):946-950.
Replicative senescence is a fundamental tumor-suppressive mechanism triggered by telomere erosion that results in a permanent cell cycle arrest. To understand the impact of telomere shortening on gene expression we analyzed the transcriptome of diploid human fibroblasts as they progressed towards and entered into senescence. We distinguished novel transcription regulation due to replicative senescence by comparing senescence-specific expression profiles to profiles from cells arrested by DNA damage or serum starvation. Only a small specific subset of genes was identified that was truly senescence-regulated and changes in gene expression were exacerbated from pre-senescent to senescent cells. The majority of gene expression regulation in replicative senescence was shown to occur due to telomere shortening, since exogenous telomerase activity reverted most of these changes.
PMCID: PMC4172521  PMID: 24863242
Replicative aging; Senescence; DNA damage; Telomerase expression; Cell cycle
14.  Deleted in Breast Cancer 1 regulates cellular senescence during obesity 
Aging cell  2014;13(5):951-953.
Chronic obesity leads to inflammation, tissue dysfunction, and cellular senescence. It was proposed that cellular senescence during obesity and aging drives inflammation and dysfunction. Consistent with this, clearance of senescent cells increases healthspan in progeroid mice. Here, we show that the protein Deleted in Breast Cancer-1 (DBC1) regulates cellular senescence during obesity. Deletion of DBC1 protects preadipocytes against cellular senescence and senescence-driven inflammation. Furthermore, we show protection against cellular senescence in DBC1 KO mice during obesity. Finally, we found that DBC1 participates in the onset of cellular senescence in response to cell damage by mechanism that involves binding and inhibition of HDAC3. We propose that by regulating HDAC3 activity during cellular damage, DBC1 participates in the fate decision that leads to the establishment of cellular senescence and consequently to inflammation and tissue dysfunction during obesity.
PMCID: PMC4172532  PMID: 24992635
15.  Depletion of Rictor, an essential protein component of mTORC2, decreases male lifespan 
Aging cell  2014;13(5):911-917.
Rapamycin, an inhibitor of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), robustly extends the lifespan of model organisms including mice. We recently found that chronic treatment with rapamycin not only inhibits mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1), the canonical target of rapamycin, but also inhibits mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2) in vivo. While genetic evidence strongly suggests that inhibition of mTORC1 is sufficient to promote longevity, the impact of mTORC2 inhibition on mammalian longevity has not been assessed. Rictor is a protein component of mTORC2 that is essential for its activity. We examined three different mouse models of Rictor loss: mice heterozygous for Rictor, mice lacking hepatic Rictor, and mice in which Rictor was inducibly deleted throughout the body in adult animals. Surprisingly, we find that depletion of Rictor significantly decreases male, but not female, lifespan. While the mechanism by which Rictor loss impairs male survival remains obscure, we find that the effect of Rictor depletion on lifespan is independent of the role of hepatic mTORC2 in promoting glucose tolerance. Our results suggest that inhibition of mTORC2 signaling is detrimental to males, which may explain in part why interventions that decrease mTOR signaling show greater efficacy in females.
PMCID: PMC4172536  PMID: 25059582
aging; gender dimorphism; longevity; mTORC2; Rictor; rapamycin
16.  Age and gender effects on DNA strand break repair in peripheral blood mononuclear cells 
Aging cell  2012;12(1):58-66.
Exogenous and endogenous damage to DNA is constantly challenging the stability of our genome. This DNA damage increase the frequency of errors in DNA replication, thus causing point mutations or chromosomal rearrangements and has been implicated in aging, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore, efficient DNA repair is vital for the maintenance of genome stability. The general notion has been that DNA repair capacity decreases with age although there are conflicting results. Here, we focused on potential age-associated changes in DNA damage response and the capacities of repairing DNA single-strand breaks (SSBs) and double-strand breaks (DSBs) in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Of these lesions, DSBs are the least frequent but the most dangerous for cells. We have measured the level of endogenous SSBs, SSB repair capacity, γ-H2AX response, and DSB repair capacity in a study population consisting of 216 individuals from a population-based sample of twins aged 40– 77 years. Age in this range did not seem to have any effect on the SSB parameters. However, γ-H2AX response and DSB repair capacity decreased with increasing age, although the associations did not reach statistical significance after adjustment for batch effect across multiple experiments. No gender differences were observed for any of the parameters analyzed. Our findings suggest that in PBMCs, the repair of SSBs is maintained until old age, whereas the response to and the repair of DSBs decrease.
PMCID: PMC4586247  PMID: 23088435
aging; double-strand break repair; gender; peripheral blood mononuclear cells; single-strand break repair; γ-H2AX
17.  Diacylglycerol Lipase Regulates Lifespan and Oxidative Stress Response by Inversely Modulating TOR Signaling in Drosophila and C. elegans 
Aging cell  2014;13(4):755-764.
Target of rapamycin (TOR) signaling is a nutrient-sensing pathway controlling metabolism and lifespan. Although TOR signaling can be activated by a metabolite of diacylglycerol (DAG), phosphatidic acid (PA), the precise genetic mechanism through which DAG metabolism influences lifespan remains unknown. DAG is metabolized to either PA via the action of DAG kinase or 2-arachidonoyl-sn-glycerol by diacylglycerol lipase (DAGL). Here, we report that in Drosophila and C. elegans, overexpression of diacylglycerol lipase (DAGL/inaE/dagl-1) or knockdown of diacylglycerol kinase (DGK/rdgA/dgk-5) extends lifespan and enhances response to oxidative stress. Phosphorylated S6 kinase (p-S6K) levels are reduced following these manipulations, implying the involvement of TOR signaling. Conversely, DAGL/inaE/dagl-1 mutants exhibit shortened lifespan, reduced tolerance to oxidative stress and elevated levels of p-S6K. Additional results from genetic interaction studies are consistent with the hypothesis that DAG metabolism interacts with TOR and S6K signaling to affect longevity and oxidative stress resistance. These findings highlight conserved metabolic and genetic pathways that regulate aging.
PMCID: PMC4116436  PMID: 24889782
diacylglycerol kinase; DAG; phosphatidic acid; S6 kinase; metabolism; aging
18.  Phagocytic Ability Declines with Age in Adult Drosophila Hemocytes 
Aging cell  2014;13(4):719-728.
Most multicellular organisms show a physiological decline in immune function with age. However, little is known about the mechanisms underlying these changes. We examined Drosophila melanogaster, an important model for identifying genes affecting innate immunity and senescence, to explore the role of phagocytosis in age-related immune dysfunction. We characterized the localized response of immune cells at the dorsal vessel to bacterial infection in one-week and five-week old flies. We developed a quantitative phagocytosis assay for adult Drosophila and utilized this to characterize the effect of age on phagocytosis in transgenic and natural variant lines. We showed that genes necessary for bacterial engulfment in other contexts are also required in adult flies. We found that blood cells from young and old flies initially engulf bacteria equally well, while cells from older flies accumulate phagocytic vesicles and thus are less capable of destroying pathogens. Our results have broad implications for understanding how the breakdown in cellular processes influences immune function with age.
PMCID: PMC4116448  PMID: 24828474
immunosenescence; phagocytosis; hemocytes; Drosophila; immunity; senescence
19.  Relative importance of redox buffers GSH and NAD(P)H in age-related neurodegeneration and Alzheimer disease-like mouse neurons 
Aging cell  2014;13(4):631-640.
Aging, a major risk factor in Alzheimer's disease (AD), is associated with an oxidative redox shift, decreased redox buffer protection and increased free radical (ROS) generation, probably linked to mitochondrial dysfunction. While NADH is the ultimate electron donor for many redox reactions, including oxidative phosphorylation, glutathione (GSH) is the major ROS detoxifying redox buffer in the cell. Here, we explored the relative importance of NADH and GSH to neurodegeneration in aging and AD neurons from non-transgenic and 3xTg-AD mice by inhibiting their synthesis to determine whether NADH can compensate for the GSH loss to maintain redox balance. Neurons stressed by either depleting NAD(P)H or GSH indicated that NADH redox control is upstream of GSH levels. Further, although depletion of NAD(P)H or GSH correlated linearly with neuron death, compared to GSH depletion, higher neurodegeneration was observed when NAD(P)H was extrapolated to zero, especially in old age, and in the 3xTg-AD neurons. We also observed an age-dependent loss of gene expression of key redox dependent biosynthetic enzymes, NAMPT (nicotinamide phosphoribosyl transferase) and NNT (nicotinamide nucleotide transhydrogenase). Moreover, age-related correlations between brain NNT or NAMPT gene expression and NADPH levels suggest that these genes contribute to the age-related declines in NAD(P)H. Our data indicate that in aging and more so in AD-like neurons, NAD(P)H redox control is upstream of GSH and an oxidative redox shift that promotes neurodegeneration. Thus, NAD(P)H generation may be a more efficacious therapeutic target upstream of GSH and ROS.
PMCID: PMC4116450  PMID: 24655393
aging; NAD(P)H; glutathione; 3xTg-AD; redox; neurodegeneration
20.  Low Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 Level Predicts Survival in Humans with Exceptional Longevity 
Aging cell  2014;13(4):769-771.
Attenuated growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 (GH/IGF-1) signaling is associated with extended lifespan in several animal models. However, the effect of diminished GH/IGF-1 activity on survival in humans has not been confirmed. We tested the hypothesis that IGF-1 levels in nonagenarians (n=184), measured at study enrollment, predict the duration of their incremental survival. In the Kaplan-Meier analysis, females with IGF-1 levels below the median (≤96 ng/mL) had significantly longer survival compared to females with levels above the median, p<0.01. However, this survival advantage was not observed in males (p=0.83). On the other hand, in both males and females with a history of cancer, lower IGF-1 levels predicted longer survival (p<0.01). IGF-1 level remained a significant predictor of survival duration in linear regression models after multivariable adjustment in females (p=0.01) and individuals with a history of cancer (p<0.01). We show for the first time that low IGF-1 levels predict life expectancy in exceptionally long-lived individuals.
PMCID: PMC4116456  PMID: 24618355
IGF-1; insulin-like growth factor 1; mortality; longevity; human; cancer
21.  Effects of age, sex and genotype on high-sensitivity metabolomic profiles in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster 
Aging cell  2014;13(4):596-604.
Researchers have used whole genome sequencing and gene expression profiling to identify genes associated with age, in the hope of understanding the underlying mechanisms of senescence. But there is a substantial gap from variation in gene sequences and expression levels to variation in age or life expectancy. In an attempt to bridge this gap, here we describe the effects of age, sex, genotype and their interactions on high-sensitivity metabolomic profiles in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Among the 6800 features analyzed, we found that over one-quarter of all metabolites were significantly associated with age, sex, genotype or their interactions, and multivariate analysis shows that individual metabolomic profiles are highly predictive of these traits. Using a metabolomic equivalent of gene set enrichment analysis, we identified numerous metabolic pathways that were enriched among metabolites associated with age, sex and genotype, including pathways involving sugar and glycerophospholipid metabolism, neurotransmitters, amino acids, and the carnitine shuttle. Our results suggest that high-sensitivity metabolomic studies have excellent potential not only to reveal mechanisms that lead to senescence, but also to help us understand differences in patterns of aging among genotypes and between males and females.
PMCID: PMC4116462  PMID: 24636523
metabolomics; Drosophila melanogaster; genetic variation; heritability; sex; genotype; age; aging; systems biology
22.  IGF-1 regulates the SIRT1-p53 pathway in cellular senescence 
Aging cell  2014;13(4):669-678.
Cellular senescence, which is known to halt proliferation of aged and stressed cells, plays a key role against cancer development, and is also closely associated with organismal aging. While increased IGF signaling induces cell proliferation, survival and cancer progression, disrupted insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling is known to enhance longevity concomitantly with delay in aging processes. The molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of aging by IGF signaling and whether IGF regulates cellular senescence are still poorly understood. In this study, we demonstrate that IGF-1 exerts a dual function in promoting cell proliferation as well as cellular senescence. While acute IGF-1 exposure promotes cell proliferation and is opposed by p53, prolonged IGF-1 treatment induces premature cellular senescence in a p53-dependent manner. We show that prolonged IGF-1 treatment inhibits SIRT1 deacetylase activity, resulting in increased p53 acetylation as well as p53 stabilization and activation, thus leading to premature cellular senescence. In addition, either expression of SIRT1 or inhibition of p53 prevented IGF-1-induced premature cellular senescence. Together, these findings suggest that p53 acts as a molecular switch in monitoring IGF-1-induced proliferation and premature senescence, and suggest a possible molecular connection involving IGF-1-SIRT1-p53 signaling in cellular senescence and aging.
PMCID: PMC4118446  PMID: 25070626
IGF-1; SIRT1; p53; senescence; aging
23.  Persistent degenerative changes in thymic organ function revealed by an inducible model of organ regrowth 
Aging cell  2011;11(1):169-177.
The thymus is the most rapidly aging tissue in the body, with progressive atrophy beginning as early as birth and not later than adolescence. Latent regenerative potential exists in the atrophic thymus, since certain stimuli can induce quantitative regrowth, but qualitative function of T lymphocytes produced by the regenerated organ has not been fully assessed. Using a genome-wide computational approach, we show that accelerated thymic aging is primarily a function of stromal cells, and that while overall cellularity of the thymus can be restored, many other aspects of thymic function cannot. Medullary islet complexity and tissue-restricted antigen expression decrease with age, representing potential mechanisms for age-related increases in autoimmune disease, but neither of these is restored by induced regrowth, suggesting that new T cells produced by the regrown thymus will probably include more autoreactive cells. Global analysis of stromal gene expression profiles implicates widespread changes in Wnt signaling as the most significant hallmark of degeneration, changes that once again persist even at peak regrowth. Consistent with the permanent nature of age-related molecular changes in stromal cells, induced thymic regrowth is not durable, with the regrown organ returning to an atrophic state within two weeks of reaching peak size. Our findings indicate that while quantitative regrowth of the thymus is achievable, the changes associated with aging persist, including potential negative implications for autoimmunity.
PMCID: PMC4505612  PMID: 22103718
thymus; aging; stromal cells; regenerative medicine; computational biology
24.  Biomarkers of ageing in Drosophila 
Aging cell  2010;9(4):466-477.
Low environmental temperature and dietary restriction (DR) extend lifespan in diverse organisms. In the fruit fly Drosophila, switching flies between temperatures alters the rate at which mortality subsequently increases with age but does not reverse mortality rate. In contrast, DR acts acutely to lower mortality risk; flies switched between control feeding and DR show a rapid reversal of mortality rate. DR thus does not slow accumulation of ageing-related damage. Molecular species that track the effects of temperatures on mortality but are unaltered with switches in diet are therefore potential biomarkers of ageing-related damage. However, molecular species that switch upon instigation or withdrawal of DR are thus potential biomarkers of mechanisms underlying risk of mortality, but not of ageing-related damage. Using this approach, we assessed several commonly used biomarkers of ageing-related damage. Accumulation of fluorescent advanced glycation end products (AGEs) correlated strongly with mortality rate of flies at different temperatures but was independent of diet. Hence fluorescent AGEs are biomarkers of ageing-related damage in flies. In contrast, five oxidised and glycated protein adducts accumulated with age, but were reversible with both temperature and diet, and are therefore not markers either of acute risk of dying or of ageing-related damage. Our approach provides a powerful method for identification of biomarkers of ageing.
PMCID: PMC4467031  PMID: 20367621
biomarkers of ageing; demography of ageing; Drosophila
25.  DILP-producing Median Neurosecretory Cells in the Drosophila Brain Mediate the Response of Lifespan to Dietary Restriction 
Aging cell  2010;9(3):336-346.
Dietary restriction extends lifespan in diverse organisms but the gene regulatory mechanisms and tissues mediating the increased survival are still unclear. Studies in worms and flies have revealed a number of candidate mechanisms, including the TOR and insulin/IGF-like signalling (IIS) pathways, and suggested a specific role for the nervous system in mediating the response. A pair of sensory neurons in C. elegans has been found to specifically mediate DR lifespan extension but the neuronal focus in the Drosophila nervous system has not yet been identified. We have previously shown that reducing IIS via the partial ablation of median neurosecretory cells in the Drosophila adult brain, which produce three of the seven fly insulin-like peptides, extends lifespan. Here, we show that these cells are required to mediate the response of lifespan to full feeding in a yeast dilution DR regime, and that they appear to do so by mechanisms that involve both altered IIS and other endocrine effects. We also present evidence of an interaction between these mNSCs, nutrition and sleep, further emphasizing the functional homology between the DILP-producing neurosecretory cells in the Drosophila brain and the hypothalamus of mammals in their roles as integration sites of many inputs for the control of lifespan and behaviour.
PMCID: PMC4467032  PMID: 20156206
Drosophila; ageing; insulin-like peptide; dietary restriction

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