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1.  Subacute calorie restriction and rapamycin discordantly alter mouse liver proteome homeostasis and reverse aging effects 
Aging Cell  2015;14(4):547-557.
Calorie restriction (CR) and rapamycin (RP) extend lifespan and improve health across model organisms. Both treatments inhibit mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling, a conserved longevity pathway and a key regulator of protein homeostasis, yet their effects on proteome homeostasis are relatively unknown. To comprehensively study the effects of aging, CR, and RP on protein homeostasis, we performed the first simultaneous measurement of mRNA translation, protein turnover, and abundance in livers of young (3 month) and old (25 month) mice subjected to 10-week RP or 40% CR. Protein abundance and turnover were measured in vivo using 2H3–leucine heavy isotope labeling followed by LC-MS/MS, and translation was assessed by polysome profiling. We observed 35–60% increased protein half-lives after CR and 15% increased half-lives after RP compared to age-matched controls. Surprisingly, the effects of RP and CR on protein turnover and abundance differed greatly between canonical pathways, with opposite effects in mitochondrial (mt) dysfunction and eIF2 signaling pathways. CR most closely recapitulated the young phenotype in the top pathways. Polysome profiles indicated that CR reduced polysome loading while RP increased polysome loading in young and old mice, suggesting distinct mechanisms of reduced protein synthesis. CR and RP both attenuated protein oxidative damage. Our findings collectively suggest that CR and RP extend lifespan in part through the reduction of protein synthetic burden and damage and a concomitant increase in protein quality. However, these results challenge the notion that RP is a faithful CR mimetic and highlight mechanistic differences between the two interventions.
PMCID: PMC4531069  PMID: 25807975
aging; calorie restriction; liver; mammalian target of rapamycin; protein turnover; rapamycin
2.  Dose-dependent effects of mTOR inhibition on weight and mitochondrial disease in mice 
Frontiers in Genetics  2015;6:247.
Rapamycin extends lifespan and attenuates age-related pathologies in mice when administered through diet at 14 parts per million (PPM). Recently, we reported that daily intraperitoneal injection of rapamycin at 8 mg/kg attenuates mitochondrial disease symptoms and progression in the Ndufs4 knockout mouse model of Leigh Syndrome. Although rapamycin is a widely used pharmaceutical agent dosage has not been rigorously examined and no dose-response profile has been established. Given these observations we sought to determine if increased doses of oral rapamycin would result in more robust impact on mTOR driven parameters. To test this hypothesis, we compared the effects of dietary rapamycin at doses ranging from 14 to 378 PPM on developmental weight in control and Ndufs4 knockout mice and on health and survival in the Ndufs4 knockout model. High dose rapamycin was well tolerated, dramatically reduced weight gain during development, and overcame gender differences. The highest oral dose, approximately 27-times the dose shown to extend murine lifespan, increased survival in Ndufs4 knockout mice similarly to daily rapamycin injection without observable adverse effects. These findings have broad implications for the effective use of rapamycin in murine studies and for the translational potential of rapamycin in the treatment of mitochondrial disease. This data, further supported by a comparison of available literature, suggests that 14 PPM dietary rapamycin is a sub-optimal dose for targeting mTOR systemically in mice. Our findings suggest that the role of mTOR in mammalian biology may be broadly underestimated when determined through treatment with rapamycin at commonly used doses.
PMCID: PMC4510413  PMID: 26257774
aging; rapamycin; mTOR; mitochondrial disease; pharmaceutical intervention
3.  Super-Suppression of Mitochondrial ROS Signaling Impairs Compensatory Autophagy in Primary Mitophagic Cardiomyopathy 
Circulation research  2014;115(3):348-353.
Mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) are implicated in aging, chronic degenerative neurological syndromes, and myopathies. Based on the free radical hypothesis, dietary, pharmacological, and genetic ROS suppression has been tested to minimize tissue damage, with remarkable therapeutic efficacy. The effects of mitochondrial-specific ROS suppression in primary mitophagic dysfunction are unknown.
An in vivo dose-ranging analysis of ROS suppression in an experimental cardiomyopathy provoked by defective mitochondrial clearance.
Methods and Results
Mice lacking mitofusin (Mfn) 2 in hearts have impaired Parkin-mediated mitophagy leading to accumulation of damaged ROS-producing organelles and progressive heart failure. As expected, cardiomyocyte-directed expression of mitochondrial targeted catalase (CAT) at modest levels normalized mitochondrial ROS production and prevented mitochondrial depolarization, respiratory impairment, and structural degeneration in Mfn2 null hearts. In contrast, CAT expression at higher levels that super-suppressed mitochondrial ROS failed to improve either mitochondrial fitness or cardiomyopathy, revealing that ROS toxicity is not the primary mechanism for cardiac degeneration. Lack of benefit from super-suppressing ROS was associated with failure to invoke secondary autophagic pathways of mitochondrial quality control, revealing a role for ROS signaling in mitochondrial clearance. Mitochondrial permeability transition pore (MPTP) function was normal, and genetic inhibition of MPTP function did not alter mitochondrial or cardiac degeneration, in Mfn2 null hearts.
Local mitochondrial ROS: 1. Contribute to mitochondrial degeneration and 2. Activate mitochondrial quality control mechanisms. A therapeutic window for mitochondrial ROS suppression should minimize the former while retaining the latter, which we achieved by expressing lower levels of CAT.
PMCID: PMC4106429  PMID: 24874428
Oxidant stress; mitochondria; mitophagy; mitofusin; catalase; cardiomyopathy
4.  Altered proteome turnover and remodeling by short-term caloric restriction or rapamycin rejuvenate the aging heart 
Aging cell  2014;13(3):529-539.
Chronic caloric restriction (CR) and rapamycin inhibit the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling, thereby regulating metabolism and suppressing protein synthesis. CR or rapamycin extend murine lifespan and ameliorate many aging-associated disorders; however, the beneficial effects of shorter treatment on cardiac aging are not as well understood. Using a recently developed deuterated-leucine labeling method, we investigated the effect of short-term (10 weeks) CR or rapamycin on the proteomics turnover and remodeling of the aging mouse heart. Functionally, we observed that short-term CR and rapamycin both reversed the pre-existing age-dependent cardiac hypertrophy and diastolic dysfunction. There was no significant change in the cardiac global proteome (823 proteins) turnover with age, with a median half-life 9.1 days in the 5-month old hearts and 8.8 days in the 27-month old hearts. However, proteome half-lives of old hearts significantly increased after short-term CR (30%) or rapamycin (12%). This was accompanied by attenuation of age-dependent protein oxidative damage and ubiquitination. Quantitative proteomics and pathway analysis revealed an age-dependent decreased abundance of proteins involved in mitochondrial function, electron transport chain, citric acid cycle and fatty acid metabolism as well as increased abundance of proteins involved in glycolysis and oxidative stress response. This age-dependent cardiac proteome remodeling was significantly reversed by short-term CR or rapamycin, demonstrating a concordance with the beneficial effect on cardiac physiology. The metabolic shift induced by rapamycin was confirmed by metabolomic analysis.
PMCID: PMC4040127  PMID: 24612461
caloric restriction; rapamycin; cardiac aging; proteomics; dynamics
5.  Interstitial pericytes decrease in aged mouse kidneys 
Aging (Albany NY)  2015;7(6):370-382.
With increasing age, the kidney undergoes characteristic changes in the glomerular and tubulo-interstitial compartments, which are ultimately accompanied by reduced kidney function. Studies have shown age-related loss of peritubular vessels. Normal peritubular vessel tone, function and survival depend on neighboring pericytes. Pericyte detachment leads to vascular damage, which can be accompanied by their differentiation to fibroblasts and myofibroblasts, a state that favors matrix production. To better understand the fate of pericytes in the aged kidney, 27 month-old mice were studied. Compared to 3 month-old young adult mice, aged kidneys showed a substantial decrease in capillaries, identified by CD31 staining, in both cortex and medulla. This was accompanied by a marked decrease in surrounding NG2+/PDGFRß+ pericytes. This decrease was more pronounced in the medulla. Capillaries devoid of pericytes were typically dilated in aged mice. Aged kidneys were also characterized by interstitial fibrosis due to increased collagen-I and -III staining. This was accompanied by an increase in the number of pericytes that acquired a pro-fibrotic phenotype, identified by increased PDGFRß+/αSMA+ staining. These findings are consistent with the decline in kidney interstitial pericytes as a critical step in the development of changes to the peritubular vasculature with aging, and accompanying fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC4505164  PMID: 26081073
endothelium; NG2; PDGFß-receptor; nephropathy; tubulo-interstitial fibrosis
6.  The Oxygen Rich Postnatal Environment Induces Cardiomyocyte Cell Cycle Arrest Through DNA Damage Response 
Cell  2014;157(3):565-579.
The mammalian heart has a remarkable regenerative capacity for a short period of time after birth, after which the majority of cardiomyocytes permanently exit cell cycle. We sought to determine the primary post-natal event that results in cardiomyocyte cell-cycle arrest. We hypothesized that transition to the oxygen rich postnatal environment is the upstream signal that results in cell cycle arrest of cardiomyocytes. Here we show that reactive oxygen species (ROS), oxidative DNA damage, and DNA damage response (DDR) markers significantly increase in the heart during the first postnatal week. Intriguingly, postnatal hypoxemia, ROS scavenging, or inhibition of DDR all prolong the postnatal proliferative window of cardiomyocytes, while hyperoxemia and ROS generators shorten it. These findings uncover a previously unrecognized protective mechanism that mediates cardiomyocyte cell cycle arrest in exchange for utilization of oxygen dependent aerobic metabolism. Reduction of mitochondrial-dependent oxidative stress should be important component of cardiomyocyte proliferation-based therapeutic approaches.
PMCID: PMC4104514  PMID: 24766806
7.  Change in Peripheral Blood Leukocyte Telomere Length and Mortality in Breast Cancer Survivors 
Progressive telomere shortening with cell division is a hallmark of aging. Short telomeres are associated with increased cancer risk, but there are conflicting reports about telomere length and mortality in breast cancer survivors.
We measured peripheral blood leukocyte telomere length at two time points in women enrolled in a multiethnic, prospective cohort of stage I to stage IIIA breast cancer survivors diagnosed between 1995 and 1999 with a median follow-up of 11.2 years. We evaluated associations between telomere length measured at mean 6 (baseline; LTL0; n = 611) and 30 months (LTL30; n = 478) after diagnosis and the change between those time points (n = 478), with breast cancer–specific and all-cause mortality using Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for possible confounders. Statistical tests were two-sided.
There were 135 deaths, of which 74 were due to breast cancer. Neither baseline nor 30-month telomere length was associated with either all-cause or breast cancer–specific mortality (LTL0: hazard ratio [HR] = 0.83, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.67 to 1.02; HR = 0.88; 95% CI = 0.67 to 1.15; LTL30: HR = 0.78, 95% CI = 0.59 to 1.05; HR = 0.86; 95% = CI = 0.58 to 1.26, respectively). However, participants whose telomeres shortened between baseline and 30 months were at a statistically significantly increased risk of breast cancer–specific (HR = 3.03; 95% CI = 1.11 to 8.18) and all-cause mortality (HR = 2.38; 95% CI = 1.28 to 4.39) compared with participants whose telomeres lengthened. When follow-up was censored at 5-years after diagnosis, LTL0 (HR = 0.66; 95% CI = 0.45 to 0.96), LTL30 (HR = 0.51; 95% CI = 0.29 to 0.92), and change in telomere length (HR = 3.45; 95% CI = 1.11 to 10.75) were statistically significantly associated with all-cause mortality.
Telomere shortening was associated with increased risk of breast cancer–specific and all-cause mortality, suggesting that change in blood telomere length over time could be a biomarker of prognosis. Research on determinants of telomere length and change is needed.
PMCID: PMC3982887  PMID: 24627273
8.  “Indefinite for Dysplasia” in Barrett's Esophagus: Inflammation and DNA Content Abnormality are Significant Predictors of Early Detection of Neoplasia 
Dysplasia arising from Barrett's esophagus precedes esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). Cases that are difficult to diagnose as dysplastic, especially in the setting of inflammation, may be designated “indefinite for dysplasia (IND).” Although flow cytometric analysis of DNA content has shown some promise in detecting EAC, there are few reports that have specifically evaluated the outcome of IND.
Aims and methods:
We analyzed a series of 96 IND patients seen at the University of Washington between 2005 and 2013 to determine the outcome of IND and to identify factors (including histologic features and DNA flow cytometric data) associated with subsequent detection of neoplasia.
Twenty-five percent of IND cases were found to have low-grade dysplasia, high-grade dysplasia (HGD), or EAC within 1 year, with 37% and 47% detected within 2 and 3 years, respectively. The 1-, 2-, and 3-year detection rates of HGD or EAC were 10%, 13%, and 20%, respectively. Active inflammation (hazard ratio (HR)=3.4, P=0.0005) and abnormal DNA content (HR=5.7, P=0.003) were significant risk factors of neoplasia. When active inflammation and DNA flow cytometric results were considered together, the HR for the combined markers was 18.8 (P<0.0001). The sensitivity and specificity of the combined markers for predicting detection of subsequent neoplasia within 3 years were 100% and 60%, respectively, with 100% negative and 89% positive predictive values.
Histology with the support of DNA flow cytometry can identify a subset of IND patients who may have a higher risk for subsequent detection of neoplasia.
PMCID: PMC4459537  PMID: 25761942
9.  Macrophage Mitochondrial Oxidative Stress Promotes Atherosclerosis and NF-κB-Mediated Inflammation in Macrophages 
Circulation research  2013;114(3):421-433.
Mitochondrial oxidative stress (mitoOS) has been shown to correlate with the progression of human atherosclerosis. However, definitive cell-type specific causation studies in vivo are lacking, and the molecular mechanisms of potential pro-atherogenic effects remain to be determined.
To assess the importance of macrophage mitoOS in atherogenesis and explore the underlying molecular mechanisms.
Methods & Results
We first validated Western-type diet-fed Ldlr-/- mice as a model of human mitoOS-atherosclerosis association by showing that a marker of mitoOS in lesional macrophages, non-nuclear oxidative DNA damage, correlates with aortic root lesion development. To investigate the importance of macrophage-mitoOS, we used a genetic engineering strategy in which the OS suppressor catalase was ectopically expressed in mitochondria (mCAT) in macrophages. MitoOS in lesional macrophages was successfully suppressed in these mice, and this led to a significant reduction in aortic root lesional area. The mCAT lesions had less monocyte-derived cells, less Ly6chi monocyte infiltration into lesions, and lower levels of the monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1). The decrease in lesional MCP-1 was associated with suppression of other markers of inflammation and with decreased phosphorylation of RelA (NF-κB p65), indicating decreased activation of the pro-inflammatory NF-κB pathway. Using models of mitoOS in cultured macrophages, we showed that mCAT suppressed MCP-1 expression by decreasing activation of the Iκ-kinase-RelA NF-κB pathway.
MitoOS in lesional macrophages amplifies atherosclerotic lesion development by promoting NF-κB-mediated entry of monocytes and other inflammatory processes. In view of the mitoOS-atherosclerosis link in human atheromata, these findings reveal a potentially new therapeutic target to prevent the progression of atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC3946745  PMID: 24297735
Mitochondrial oxidative stress; atherosclerosis; macrophage; reactive oxygen species (ROS); NF-κB
10.  Molecular mechanisms underlying genotype-dependent responses to dietary restriction 
Aging cell  2013;12(6):10.1111/acel.12130.
Dietary restriction (DR) increases lifespan and attenuates age-related phenotypes in many organisms; however, the effect of DR on longevity of individuals in genetically heterogeneous populations is not well characterized. Here we describe a large-scale effort to define molecular mechanisms that underlie genotype-specific responses to DR. The effect of DR on lifespan was determined for 166 single-gene deletion strains in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Resulting changes in mean lifespan ranged from a reduction of 79% to an increase of 103%. Vacuolar pH homeostasis, superoxide dismutase activity, and mitochondrial proteostasis were found to be strong determinants of the response to DR. Proteomic analysis of cells deficient in prohibitins revealed induction of a mitochondrial unfolded protein response (mtUPR) which has not previously been described in yeast. Mitochondrial proteotoxic stress in prohibitin mutants was suppressed by DR via reduced cytoplasmic mRNA translation. A similar relationship between prohibitins, the mtUPR, and longevity was also observed in Caenorhabditis elegans. These observations define conserved molecular processes that underlie genotype-dependent effects of DR that may be important modulators of DR in higher organisms.
PMCID: PMC3838465  PMID: 23837470
aging; replicative lifespan; longevity; yeast; dietary restriction; mitochondria; mitochondrial unfolded protein response
11.  Clonal expansions and short telomeres are associated with neoplasia in early-onset, but not late-onset, ulcerative colitis 
Inflammatory bowel diseases  2013;19(12):10.1097/MIB.0b013e3182a87640.
Patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) are at risk of developing colorectal cancer. We have previously reported that cancer progression is associated with the presence of clonal expansions and shorter telomeres in non-dysplastic mucosa. We sought to validate these findings in an independent case-control study.
This study included 33 patients with UC: 14 Progressors (patients with high-grade dysplasia or cancer) and 19 Non-Progressors. For each patient, a mean of 5 non-dysplastic biopsies from proximal, mid, and distal colon were assessed for clonal expansions, as determined by clonal length altering mutations in polyguanine tracts, and telomere length, as measured by Quantitative-PCR. Both parameters were compared with individual clinico-pathological characteristics.
Clonal expansions and shorter telomeres were more frequent in non-dysplastic biopsies from UC Progressors than Non-Progressors, but only for patients with early-onset of UC (diagnosis at less than 50 years of age). Late-onset Progressor patients had very few or no clonal expansions and longer telomeres. A few Non-Progressors exhibited clonal expansions, which were associated with older age and shorter telomeres. In Progressors, clonal expansions were associated with proximity to dysplasia. The mean percentage of clonally expanded mutations distinguished early-onset Progressors from Non-Progressors with 100% sensitivity and 80% specificity.
Early-onset Progressors develop cancer in a field of clonally expanded epithelium with shorter telomeres. The detection of these clones in a few random non-dysplastic colon biopsies is a promising cancer biomarker in early-onset UC. Curiously, late-onset UC patients appear to develop cancer without the involvement of such fields.
PMCID: PMC3885330  PMID: 24097228
inflammatory bowel disease; preneoplasia; field effect; cancer biomarker; age of onset
12.  MRE11-Deficiency Associated with Improved Long-Term Disease Free Survival and Overall Survival in a Subset of Stage III Colon Cancer Patients in Randomized CALGB 89803 Trial 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e108483.
Colon cancers deficient in mismatch repair (MMR) may exhibit diminished expression of the DNA repair gene, MRE11, as a consequence of contraction of a T11 mononucleotide tract. This study investigated MRE11 status and its association with prognosis, survival and drug response in patients with stage III colon cancer.
Patients and Methods
Cancer and Leukemia Group B 89803 (Alliance) randomly assigned 1,264 patients with stage III colon cancer to postoperative weekly adjuvant bolus 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin (FU/LV) or irinotecan+FU/LV (IFL), with 8 year follow-up. Tumors from these patients were analyzed to determine stability of a T11 tract in the MRE11 gene. The primary endpoint was overall survival (OS), and a secondary endpoint was disease-free survival (DFS). Non-proportional hazards were addressed using time-dependent covariates in Cox analyses.
Of 625 tumor cases examined, 70 (11.2%) exhibited contraction at the T11 tract in one or both MRE11 alleles and were thus predicted to be deficient in MRE11 (dMRE11). In pooled treatment analyses, dMRE11 patients showed initially reduced DFS and OS but improved long-term DFS and OS compared with patients with an intact MRE11 T11 tract. In the subgroup of dMRE11 patients treated with IFL, an unexplained early increase in mortality but better long-term DFS than IFL-treated pMRE11 patients was observed.
Analysis of this relatively small number of patients and events showed that the dMRE11 marker predicts better prognosis independent of treatment in the long-term. In subgroup analyses, dMRE11 patients treated with irinotecan exhibited unexplained short-term mortality. MRE11 status is readily assayed and may therefore prove to be a useful prognostic marker, provided that the results reported here for a relatively small number of patients can be generalized in independent analyses of larger numbers of samples.
Trial Registration NCT00003835
PMCID: PMC4195600  PMID: 25310185
13.  Global Proteomics and Pathway Analysis of Pressure-overload Induced Heart Failure and Its Attenuation by Mitochondrial Targeted Peptides 
Circulation. Heart failure  2013;6(5):10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.113.000406.
We investigated the protective effects of mitochondrial-targeted antioxidant and protective peptides, SS31 and SS20, on cardiac function, proteomic remodeling and signaling pathways.
Methods and Results
We applied an improved label-free shotgun proteomics approach to evaluate the global proteomics changes in transverse aortic constriction (TAC) induced heart failure, and the associated signaling pathway changes using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA). We found 538 proteins significantly changed after TAC, which mapped to 53 pathways. The top pathways were in the categories of actin cytoskeleton, mitochondrial function, intermediate metabolism, glycolysis / gluconeogenesis and citrate cycle. Concomitant treatment with SS31 ameliorated the congestive heart failure phenotypes and mitochondrial damage induced by TAC, in parallel with global attenuation of mitochondrial proteome changes, with an average of 84% protection of mitochondrial and 69% of non-mitochondrial protein changes. This included significant amelioration of All the IPA pathways noted above. SS20 had only modest effects on heart failure and this tracked with only partial attenuation of global proteomics changes; furthermore, while actin cytoskeleton pathways were significantly protected in SS20, mitochondrial and metabolic pathways essentially were not.
This study elucidates the signaling pathways significantly changed in pressure-overload induced heart failure. The global attenuation of TAC-induced proteomic alterations by the mitochondrial targeted peptide SS-31 suggests that perturbed mitochondrial function may be an upstream signal to many of pathway alterations in TAC and supports the potential clinical application of mitochondrial-targeted peptide drugs for the treatment heart failure.
PMCID: PMC3856238  PMID: 23935006
heart failure; mitochondria; proteomics; signal transduction
14.  Mitochondria and Tumor Progression in Ulcerative Colitis 
The role of mitochondria in cancer is poorly understood. Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an inflammatory bowel disease that predisposes to colorectal cancer and is an excellent model to study tumor progression. Our goal was to characterize mitochondrial alterations in UC tumorigenesis.
Nondysplastic colon biopsies from UC patients with high-grade dysplasia or cancer (progressors; n = 9) and UC patients dysplasia free (nonprogressors; n = 9) were immunostained for cytochrome C oxidase (COX), a component of the electron transport chain, and were quantified by multispectral imaging. For six additional progressors, nondysplastic and dysplastic biopsies were stained for COX and additional mitochondrial proteins including PGC1α, the master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number was determined by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Generalized estimating equations with two-sided tests were used to account for correlation of measurements within individuals.
Nondysplastic biopsies of UC progressors showed statistically significant COX loss compared with UC nonprogressors by generalized estimating equation (−18.5 units, 95% confidence interval = −12.1 to −24.9; P < .001). COX intensity progressively decreased with proximity to dysplasia and was the lowest in adjacent to dysplasia and dysplastic epithelium. Surprisingly, COX intensity was statistically significantly increased in cancers. This bimodal pattern was observed for other mitochondrial proteins, including PGC1α, and was confirmed by mtDNA copy number.
Mitochondrial loss precedes the development of dysplasia, and it could be used to detect and potentially predict cancer. Cancer cells restore mitochondria, suggesting that mitochondria are needed for further proliferation. This bimodal pattern might be driven by transcriptional regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis by PGC1α.
PMCID: PMC3748006  PMID: 23852949
15.  mTOR Inhibition Alleviates Mitochondrial Disease in a Mouse Model of Leigh Syndrome 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2013;342(6165):1524-1528.
Mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to numerous health problems, including neurological and muscular degeneration, cardiomyopathies, cancer, diabetes, and pathologies of aging. Severe mitochondrial defects can result in childhood disorders such as Leigh syndrome, for which there are no effective therapies. We found that rapamycin, a specific inhibitor of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway, robustly enhances survival and attenuates disease progression in a mouse model of Leigh syndrome. Administration of rapamycin to these mice, which are deficient in the mitochondrial respiratory chain subunit Ndufs4 [NADH dehydrogenase (ubiquinone) Fe-S protein 4], delays onset of neurological symptoms, reduces neuroinflammation, and prevents brain lesions. Although the precise mechanism of rescue remains to be determined, rapamycin induces a metabolic shift toward amino acid catabolism and away from glycolysis, alleviating the buildup of glycolytic intermediates. This therapeutic strategy may prove relevant for a broad range of mitochondrial diseases.
PMCID: PMC4055856  PMID: 24231806
16.  Independent and Combined Effects of Dietary Weight Loss and Exercise on Leukocyte Telomere Length in Postmenopausal Women 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2013;21(12):10.1002/oby.20509.
Investigate the effects of 12 months of dietary weight loss and/or aerobic exercise on leukocyte telomere length in postmenopausal women.
Design and Methods
439 overweight or obese women (50–75 y) were randomized to: i) dietary weight loss (N=118); ii) aerobic exercise (N=117), iii) diet + exercise (N=117), or iv) control (N=87). The diet intervention was a group-based program with a 10% weight loss goal. The exercise intervention was 45 mins/day, 5 days/week of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity. Fasting blood samples were taken at baseline and 12 months. DNA was extracted from isolated leukocytes and telomere length was measured by quantitative-polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Mean changes were compared between groups (intent-to-treat) using generalized estimating equations.
Baseline telomere length was inversely associated with age (r=−0.12 p<0.01) and positively associated with maximal oxygen uptake (r=0.11, p=0.03), but not with BMI or %body fat. Change in telomere length was inversely correlated with baseline telomere length (r=−0.47, p<0.0001). No significant difference in leukocyte telomere length was detected in any intervention group compared to controls, nor was the magnitude of weight loss associated with telomere length at 12 months.
Twelve-months of dietary weight loss and exercise did not change telomere length in postmenopausal women.
PMCID: PMC3786031  PMID: 23640743
caloric restriction; physical activity; lifestyle; ageing; chromosomes
17.  Altered proteome turnover and remodeling by short-term caloric restriction or rapamycin rejuvenate the aging heart 
Aging Cell  2014;13(3):529-539.
Chronic caloric restriction (CR) and rapamycin inhibit the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling, thereby regulating metabolism and suppressing protein synthesis. Caloric restriction or rapamycin extends murine lifespan and ameliorates many aging-associated disorders; however, the beneficial effects of shorter treatment on cardiac aging are not as well understood. Using a recently developed deuterated-leucine labeling method, we investigated the effect of short-term (10 weeks) CR or rapamycin on the proteomics turnover and remodeling of the aging mouse heart. Functionally, we observed that short-term CR and rapamycin both reversed the pre-existing age-dependent cardiac hypertrophy and diastolic dysfunction. There was no significant change in the cardiac global proteome (823 proteins) turnover with age, with a median half-life 9.1 days in the 5-month-old hearts and 8.8 days in the 27-month-old hearts. However, proteome half-lives of old hearts significantly increased after short-term CR (30%) or rapamycin (12%). This was accompanied by attenuation of age-dependent protein oxidative damage and ubiquitination. Quantitative proteomics and pathway analysis revealed an age-dependent decreased abundance of proteins involved in mitochondrial function, electron transport chain, citric acid cycle, and fatty acid metabolism as well as increased abundance of proteins involved in glycolysis and oxidative stress response. This age-dependent cardiac proteome remodeling was significantly reversed by short-term CR or rapamycin, demonstrating a concordance with the beneficial effect on cardiac physiology. The metabolic shift induced by rapamycin was confirmed by metabolomic analysis.
PMCID: PMC4040127  PMID: 24612461
caloric restriction; cardiac aging; dynamics; proteomics; rapamycin
18.  Preserving Youth: Does Rapamycin Deliver? 
Science translational medicine  2013;5(211):211fs40.
Research suggests that the drug rapamycin slows mammalian aging, but a provocative new study has gained attention by claiming to show it does not.
PMCID: PMC4019780  PMID: 24225941
19.  Mitochondrial oxidative stress in aging and healthspan 
The free radical theory of aging proposes that reactive oxygen species (ROS)-induced accumulation of damage to cellular macromolecules is a primary driving force of aging and a major determinant of lifespan. Although this theory is one of the most popular explanations for the cause of aging, several experimental rodent models of antioxidant manipulation have failed to affect lifespan. Moreover, antioxidant supplementation clinical trials have been largely disappointing. The mitochondrial theory of aging specifies more particularly that mitochondria are both the primary sources of ROS and the primary targets of ROS damage. In addition to effects on lifespan and aging, mitochondrial ROS have been shown to play a central role in healthspan of many vital organ systems. In this article we review the evidence supporting the role of mitochondrial oxidative stress, mitochondrial damage and dysfunction in aging and healthspan, including cardiac aging, age-dependent cardiovascular diseases, skeletal muscle aging, neurodegenerative diseases, insulin resistance and diabetes as well as age-related cancers. The crosstalk of mitochondrial ROS, redox, and other cellular signaling is briefly presented. Potential therapeutic strategies to improve mitochondrial function in aging and healthspan are reviewed, with a focus on mitochondrial protective drugs, such as the mitochondrial antioxidants MitoQ, SkQ1, and the mitochondrial protective peptide SS-31.
PMCID: PMC4013820  PMID: 24860647
Mitochondria; Oxidative stress; Aging; Healthspan
20.  Mitochondria and Cardiovascular Aging 
Circulation research  2012;110(8):10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.111.246140.
Old age is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Several lines of evidence in experimental animal models have indicated the central role of mitochondria both in lifespan determination and cardiovascular aging. In this article we review the evidence supporting the role of mitochondrial oxidative stress, mitochondrial damage and biogenesis as well as the crosstalk between mitochondria and cellular signaling in cardiac and vascular aging. Intrinsic cardiac aging in the murine model closely recapitulates age-related cardiac changes in humans (left ventricular hypertrophy, fibrosis and diastolic dysfunction), while the phenotype of vascular aging include endothelial dysfunction, reduced vascular elasticity and chronic vascular inflammation. Both cardiac and vascular aging involve neurohormonal signaling (e.g. renin-angiotensin, adrenergic, insulin-IGF1 signaling) and cell-autonomous mechanisms. The potential therapeutic strategies to improve mitochondrial function in aging and cardiovascular diseases are also discussed, with a focus on mitochondrial-targeted antioxidants, calorie restriction, calorie restriction mimetics and exercise training.
PMCID: PMC3867977  PMID: 22499901
21.  Measuring telomere length for the early detection of precursor lesions of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:578.
Esophageal cancer is the sixth leading cause of cancer death worldwide; current early detection screening tests are inadequate. Esophageal balloon cytology successfully retrieves exfoliated and scraped superficial esophageal epithelial cells, but cytologic reading of these cells has poor sensitivity and specificity for detecting esophageal squamous dysplasia (ESD), the precursor lesion of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Measuring telomere length, a marker for chromosomal instability, may improve the utility of balloon cytology for detecting ESD and early ESCC.
We examined balloon cytology specimens from 89 asymptomatic cases of ESD (37 low-grade and 52 high-grade) and 92 age- and sex-matched normal controls from an esophageal cancer early detection screening study. All subjects also underwent endoscopy and biopsy, and ESD was diagnosed histopathologically. DNA was extracted from the balloon cytology cells, and telomere length was measured by quantitative PCR. A receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was plotted for telomere length as a diagnostic marker for high-grade dysplasia.
Telomere lengths were comparable among the low- and high-grade dysplasia cases and controls, with means of 0.96, 0.96, and 0.92, respectively. The area under the ROC curve was 0.55 for telomere length as a diagnostic marker for high-grade dysplasia. Further adjustment for subject characteristics, including sex, age, smoking, drinking, hypertension, and body mass index did not improve the use of telomere length as a marker for ESD.
Telomere length of esophageal balloon cytology cells was not associated with ESCC precursor lesions. Therefore, telomere length shows little promise as an early detection marker for ESCC in esophageal balloon samples.
PMCID: PMC3882883  PMID: 24308314
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; Esophageal squamous dysplasia; Early detection; Screening; Balloon cytology; Telomeres
22.  Mitochondrial oxidative stress mediates Angiotensin II-induced cardiac hypertrophy and Gαq overexpression-induced heart failure 
Circulation research  2011;108(7):837-846.
Mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated in several cardiovascular diseases; however, the roles of mitochondrial oxidative stress and DNA damage in hypertensive cardiomyopathy are not well understood.
We evaluated the contribution of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) to cardiac hypertrophy and failure by using genetic mouse models overexpressing catalase targeted to mitochondria and to peroxisomes.
Methods and Results
Angiotensin II increases mitochondrial ROS in cardiomyocytes, concomitant with increased mitochondrial protein carbonyls, mitochondrial DNA deletions, increased autophagy and signaling for mitochondrial biogenesis in hearts of Angiotensin II treated mice. The causal role of mitochondrial ROS in Angiotensin II-induced cardiomyopathy is shown by the observation that mice that overexpress catalase targeted to mitochondria, but not mice that overexpress wild-type peroxisomal catalase, are resistant to cardiac hypertrophy, fibrosis and mitochondrial damage induced by Angiotensin II, as well as heart failure induced by overexpression of Gαq. Furthermore, primary damage to mitochondrial DNA, induced by zidovudine administration or homozygous mutation of mitochondrial polymerase gamma, is also shown to contribute directly to the development of cardiac hypertrophy, fibrosis and failure.
These data indicate the critical role of mitochondrial ROS in cardiac hypertrophy and failure and support the potential use of mitochondrial-targeted antioxidants for prevention and treatment of hypertensive cardiomyopathy.
PMCID: PMC3785241  PMID: 21311045
mitochondria; reactive oxygen species; angiotensin; cardiomyopathy; heart failure
23.  Mitochondrial targeted antioxidant peptide ameliorates hypertensive cardiomyopathy 
We investigated the effect of reducing mitochondrial oxidative stress by the mitochondrial-targeted antioxidant peptide SS-31 in hypertensive cardiomyopathy.
Oxidative stress has been implicated in hypertensive cardiovascular diseases. Mitochondria and NADPH oxidase have been proposed as primary sites of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation.
The mitochondrial targeted antioxidant peptide SS-31 was used to determine the role of mitochondrial oxidative stress in Angiotensin II (Ang)-induced cardiomyopathy, as well as in Gαq overexpressing mice with heart failure.
Angiotensin II induces mitochondrial ROS in neonatal cardiomyocytes, which is prevented by SS-31, but not the non-targeted antioxidant N-acetyl cysteine (NAC). Continuous administration of Ang for 4 weeks in mice significantly increased both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and this was not affected by SS-31 treatment. Ang was associated with upregulation of NADPH oxidase 4 (NOX4) expression, increased cardiac mitochondrial protein oxidative damage and induced the signaling for mitochondrial biogenesis. Reducing mitochondrial ROS by SS-31 substantially attenuated Ang-induced NOX4 upregulation, mitochondrial oxidative damage, upregulation of mitochondrial biogenesis, phosphorylation of p38 MAP kinase, and prevented apoptosis, concomitant with amelioration of Ang induced cardiac hypertrophy, diastolic dysfunction, and fibrosis, despite the absence of blood pressure lowering effect. NAC did not show any beneficial effect. SS-31 administration for 4 weeks also partially rescued the heart failure phenotype of Gαq overexpressing mice.
Mitochondrial targeted peptide SS-31 ameliorates cardiomyopathy resulting from prolonged Ang stimulation as well as Gαq overexpression, suggesting its potential clinical application for target organ protection in hypertensive cardiovascular diseases.
PMCID: PMC3742010  PMID: 21620606
mitochondria; hypertension; cardiomyopathy
24.  Pan-colonic field defects are detected by CGH in the colons of UC patients with dysplasia/cancer 
Cancer Letters  2012;320(2):180-188.
BAC arrays were used to evaluate genomic instability along the colon of patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). Genomic instability increases with disease progression and biopsies more proximal to dysplasia showed increased instability. Pan-colonic field copy number gain or loss involving small (< 1 Mb) regions were detected in most patients and were particularly apparent in the UC progressor patients who had dysplasia or cancer. Chromosomal copy gains or losses affecting large regions were mainly restricted to dysplastic biopsies. Areas of significant chromosomal losses were detected in the UC progressors on chromosomes 2q36, 3q25, 3p21, 4q34, 4p16.2, 15q22, and 16p13 (p-value ≤ 0.04). These results extend our understanding of the dynamic nature of pan-colonic genomic instability in this disease.
PMCID: PMC3406733  PMID: 22387989
ulcerative colitis; genomic instability; BAC array
25.  mTOR is a key modulator of ageing and age-related disease 
Nature  2013;493(7432):338-345.
Many experts in the biology of ageing believe that pharmacological interventions to slow ageing are a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’. A leading target for such interventions is the nutrient response pathway defined by the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR). Inhibition of this pathway extends lifespan in model organisms and confers protection against a growing list of age-related pathologies. Characterized inhibitors of this pathway are already clinically approved, and others are under development. Although adverse side effects currently preclude use in otherwise healthy individuals, drugs that target the mTOR pathway could one day become widely used to slow ageing and reduce age-related pathologies in humans.
PMCID: PMC3687363  PMID: 23325216

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