Accumulating evidence suggests that with time human stem cells may become defective or depleted, thereby contributing to aging and aging-related diseases. Drosophila provides a convenient model system in which to study stem cell aging. The adult Drosophila ovary contains two types of stem cells: the germ-line stem cells give rise to the oocyte and its supporting nurse cells, while the somatic stem cells give rise to the follicular epithelium—a highly differentiated tissue that surrounds each oocyte as it develops. Genetic and transgenic analyses have identified several conserved signaling pathways that function in the ovary to regulate stem cell maintenance, division and differentiation, including the wingless, hedgehog, JAK/STAT, insulin and TGF-β pathways. During Drosophila aging the division of the stem cells decreases dramatically, coincident with reduced egg production. It is unknown if this reproductive senescence is due to a defect in the stem cells themselves, or due to the lack of signals normally sent to the stem cells from elsewhere in the animal, such as from the central nervous system or the stem cell niche. Methods are being developed to genetically mark stem cells in adult Drosophila and measure their survival, division rate and function during aging.
aging; chorion; Drosophila; oogenesis; senescence; stem cells; telomeres
The process of aging can be described as a progressive decline in an organism's function that invariably results in death. This decline results from the activities of intrinsic genetic factors within an organism. The relative contributions of the biological and environmental components to senescence are hard to measure, however different strategies have been devised in Drosophila melanogaster to isolate and identify genetic influences on aging. These strategies include selective breeding, quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping and single gene mutant analysis. Selective breeding effectively demonstrated a genetic, heritable component to aging while QTL mapping located regions within the Drosophila genome carrying loci that influence the aging process. Within the past decade, single gene mutant analysis has facilitated the identification of specific genes whose activities play a determinative role in Drosophila aging. This review will focus on the application of selective breeding, QTL mapping and single gene mutant analysis used in Drosophila to study aging as well as the results obtained through these strategies to date.
biomarkers; enhancer-trap; functional senescence; gene expression; longevity; microarray; QTL mapping; selective breeding; stress; UAS/GAL4
Aging is a fascinating, albeit controversial, chapter in biology. Few other subjects have elicited more than a century of ever-increasing scientific interest. In this review, we discuss studies on aging in social insects, a group of species that includes ants and termites, as well as certain bee and wasp species. One striking feature of social insects is the lifespan of queens (reproductive females), which can reach nearly 30 years in some ant species. This is over 100 times the average lifespan of solitary insects. Moreover, there is a tremendous variation in lifespan among castes, with queens living up to 500 times longer than males and 10 times longer than workers (non-reproductive individuals). This lifespan polymorphism has allowed researchers to test the evolutionary theory of aging and – more recently – to investigate the proximate causes of aging. The originality of these studies lies in their use of naturally evolved systems to address questions related to aging and lifespan determination that cannot be answered using the conventional model organisms.
aging; disposable soma; evolutionary theory; social insects
The last two decades brought remarkable insight into the nature of normal aging in multicellular organisms. However, we are still far away from realizing extension of maximum lifespan in humans. An important modulator of lifespan is oxidative damage induced by reactive species, such as reactive oxygen species (ROS). Studies from yeast, Caenorhabditis and Drosophila primarily focused on (1) reduced generation or (2) elimination of ROS but have two principal shortcomings: (1) dietary restriction and single gene mutations are often associated with physiological impairments and (2) overexpression of components of the antioxidant system extend lifetime only under stress-induced conditions. Recent results from Drosophila indicate the involvement of an endogenous repair and elimination system for oxidatively damaged proteins in the process of aging. This system includes methionine sulfoxide reductase A (MSRA) and the carbonyl reductase Sniffer, the protein-ubiquitin ligase Parkin and the chaperone Hsp22. In this review we summarize different anti-aging strategies and discuss a synergistic interaction between protection against free radicals and specific repair/elimination of oxidative damage in lifespan extension primarily using the model system Drosophila. To achieve lifespan extension, available experiments are often methodically grouped into (1) caloric restriction, (2) single gene mutation, and (3) overexpression of genes. Here we summarize different strategies by a more causal classification: (1) prevention of ROS generation, (2) reducing free ROS level, and (3) repair and elimination of ROS-damaged proteins.
antioxidant system; Drosophila; methionine sulfoxide reductases; oxidative stress theory of aging; protein oxidation; ROS
Drosophila has recently emerged as a model system for studying mechanisms of neurodegeneration. Genetic models for most of the major neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), polyglutamine diseases, and tauopathies, have been successfully established. Pharmacological models of some of these diseases have also been created. Genetic modifier screens using these models have uncovered previously implicated mechanisms and molecules as well as novel ones. Fly models have turned out to be excellent system for the in vivo testing of therapeutic potentials of candidate compounds. It is anticipated that further exploration of the fly models will not only provide novel insights into mechanisms of neurodegeneration but also lead to the development of rational treatment of those debilitating degenerative diseases.
Alzheimer's disease; disease modeling; Drosophila; genetics; Parkinson's disease; polyglutamine disease; tauopathy
Age-related sarcopenia inhibits mobility, increasing the risk for developing many diseases, including diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, and heart disease. Tissue plasticity, or the ability to regenerate following stress, has been a subject of question in aging humans. We assessed the impact of 10-weeks of resistance training on markers of skeletal muscle plasticity and insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1) receptor density in a sub sample of subjects who, in an earlier study, demonstrated enhanced immunohistochemical labeling of IGF following resistance training. Muscle biopsies from the vastus lateralis of five elderly men and women were taken prior to and following 10 weeks of resistance training (N = 3) or a control period (N = 2). Immunogold labeling and quantitative electron microscopy techniques were used to analyze markers of IGF-1 receptor density and tissue plasticity. The experimental subjects showed a 161 ± 93.7% increase in Z band damage following resistance training. Myofibrillar central nuclei increased 296 ± 120% (P = 0. 029) in the experimental subjects. Changes in the percent of damaged Z bands were associated with alterations in the presence of central nuclei (r = 0.668; P = 0.0347). Post hoc analysis revealed that the relative pre/post percent changes in myofibrillar Z band damage and central nuclei were not statistically different between the control and exercise groups. Exercise training increased myofibrillar IGF-1 receptor densities in the exercise subjects (P = 0.008), with a non-significant increase in the control group. Labeling patterns suggested enhanced receptor density around the Z bands, sarcolemma, and mitochondrial and nuclear membranes. Findings from this study suggest that the age-related downregulation of the skeletal muscle IGF-1 system may be reversed to some extent with progressive resistance training. Furthermore, skeletal muscle tissue plasticity in the frail elderly is maintained at least to some extent as exemplified by the enhancement of IGF-1 receptor density and markers of tissue regeneration
aging; exercise; IGF-1 receptors; skeletal muscle
Coenzyme Q (Q) is reduced in plasma membrane and mitochondria by NAD(P)H-dependent reductases providing reducing equivalents to maintain both respiratory chain and antioxidant protection. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are accumulated in the aging process originating mainly in mitochondria but also in other membranes, such as plasma membrane partially by the loss of electrons from the semiquinone. The reduction of Q by NAD(P)H-dependent reductases in plasma membrane is responsible for providing its antioxidant capacity, preventing both the lipid peroxidation chain and the activation of the ceramide-dependent apoptosis pathway. Both Q content and its reductases are decreased in plasma membrane of aging mammals. Calorie restriction, which extends mammal life span, increases the content of Q in the plasma membrane and also activates Q reductases in this membrane. Both lipid peroxidation and ceramide production are decreased in the plasma membrane in calorie-restricted animals. Plasma membrane is, then, an important cellular component to control the aging process through its concentration and redox state of Q.
aging; coenzyme Q; oxidative stress; plasma membrane; redox system
Caloric restriction (CR) is known as the only non-genetic method proven to slow the rate of aging and extend lifespan in animals. Free radicals production emerges from normal metabolic activity and generates the accumulation of oxidized macromolecules, one of the main characteristics of aging. Due to its central role in cell bioenergetics, a great interest has been paid to CR-induced modifications in mitochondria, where CR has been suggested to decrease reactive oxygen species production. The plasma membrane contains a trans-membrane redox system (PMRS) that provides electrons to recycle lipophilic antioxidants, such as α-tocopherol and coenzyme Q (CoQ), and to modulate cytosolic redox homeostasis. In the present study, we have investigated age differences in the PMRS in mouse liver and their modulation by CR. Aging induced a decrease in the ratio of CoQ10/CoQ9 and α-tocopherol in liver PM from AL-fed mice that was attenuated by CR. CoQ-dependent NAD(P)H dehydrogenases highly increased in CR old mice liver PMs. On the other hand, the CoQ-independent NADH-FCN reductase activity increased in AL-fed animals; whereas, in mice under CR this activity did not change during aging. Our results suggest that liver PMRS activity changes during aging and that CR modulates these changes. By this mechanism CR maintains a higher antioxidant capacity in liver PM of old animals by increasing the activity of CoQ-dependent reductases. Also, the putative role of PMRS in the modulation of redox homeostasis of cytosol is implicated.
cytochrome b5 reductase; plasma membrane redox system; quinone reductase; ubiquinone
These investigations characterize an in vitro model for generating excess intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS). This novel model may be useful in the identification and delineation of cellular mechanisms associated with aging due to the link between age and excess oxidative events. The human cell line, MCF7, was stably transfected using the pSV3.neo plasmid housing a gene encoding the Aequorea victoria green fluorescent protein (GFP). Transfected cells were analyzed for maintenance of GFP over time, showing stability of the GFP gene. These studies demonstrate that the presence of fluorescing GFP significantly increases intracellular ROS, creating oxidative stress in these cells. Antioxidant supplementation was evaluated to determine the effectiveness of intracellular H2O2 reduction. The results demonstrate that supplementation with a potent antioxidant, such as reduced glutathione, protects cells from oxidative damage by decreasing intracellular concentrations of H2O2. This model for intracellular generation of excess ROS establishes a clear method by which the utility of antioxidant supplementation to protect against intracellularly generated reactive oxygen species may be evaluated.
aging; green fluorescent protein; hydrogen peroxide; mammalian cellular model; oxidative stress; reactive oxygen species
We consider possible contributions of plasma membrane redox systems to Aging control by sirtuin (SIR). Reported changes in plasma membrane redox introduced by calorie restriction (CR) may lead to activation of SIR. The most obvious effect would lie in the increase of NAD+ as a result of NADH oxidation. So the question arises, do the observed changes herald an increase in NADH oxidase under CR? The other possibility is an increase in expression of SIR by activation of plasma membrane oxidase. Previous experiments have shown that activation of the plasma membrane redox system can increase cellular NAD+ concentration. The plasma membrane redox systems are also involved in control of protein kinase activity through oxygen radical generation. This activity may be related to control of SIR expression.
calorie restriction; NADH/NAD; plasma membrane; oxidase; transferrin
The plasma membrane redox system (PMRS) is an electron transport chain in the plasma membrane that transfers electrons from either intra- or extracellular donors to extracellular acceptors. Unlike the superoxide-generating NADPH oxidase of phagocytes and the homologous (but much less active) enzymes found in some other cells, the PMRS is still incompletely characterised at the molecular level. Much is known, however, concerning its function and affinity for both physiological and non-physiological substrates. A role for it in aging, the ‘reductive hotspot hypothesis’ (RHH), was proposed in 1998 as part of an explanation for the apparently indefinite survival in vivo of cells that have entirely lost mitochondrial respiratory capacity as a result of the accumulation of mitochondrial mutations. Stimulation of the PMRS might allow the cell to maintain redox homeostasis even while continuing to operate the Krebs cycle, which may be advantageous in many ways. However, the PMRS may, like the mitochondrial respiratory chain, be prone to generate superoxide when thus dysregulated – and in this case superoxide would be generated outside the cell, where antioxidant defences are more limited than inside the cell and where much highly oxidisable material is present. Cascades of peroxidation chain reactions initiated by this process may greatly amplify the oxidative stress on the organism that is caused by rare mitochondrially mutant cells. Since such cells increase in abundance with aging (though remaining rare), this is an economical hypothesis to explain the rise in oxidative stress seen in (and generally believed to contribute substantially to) mammalian aging. In an extension of previously published accounts of RHH, I propose here that the lysosomal toxicity of oxidised cholesterol derivatives (oxysterols) may contribute to the toxicity of mitochondrial mutations by affecting lysosomal function in many cell types in the same way as they have been proposed to do in arterial macrophages.
aging; low-density lipoprotein; lysosome; mitochondrial mutations; oxysterols; plasma membrane redox system; superoxide
Age and/or gender appear to moderate alpha-adrenergic mediated constrictor mechanisms found in the interlobar arteries of the Munich Wistar rat. We have determined the extent of constriction to alpha-adrenergic receptor stimulation using norepinephrine, phenylephrine and A61603 (α1A-adrenergic receptor agonist) as a function of age and gender. Norepinephrine produced less constriction in male-derived arteries at ages greater than eight months as compared to the younger adult male (four to six months). The arteries derived from females did not demonstrate altered constriction until greater than 15 months of age. Similarly, arteries derived from the male demonstrated weaker constrictions to phenylephrine (10−6 to 10−3 M) at ages greater than eight months while arteries from females showed differences at greater than 15 months. In contrast, the effective concentration of norepinephrine to cause a 50% maximal constriction (EC50) was significantly less in the four to five-month-old male rats compared to the pooled data from older groups. Interestingly, four to five month old males had A61603 EC50 values similar to the 8 to 12-month and 15+ old females. These studies conclude that an age related loss of sympathetic α-adrenergic constriction of renal interlobar arteries is present in Munich Wistar rats. Furthermore, this loss, while similar along longitudinal aspects of age, is also different as a function of gender with the loss of α-adrenergic constrictor function delayed in the female when compared to the male.
aging; alpha adrenergic receptors; gender differences; rat; renal preglomerular arteries
Rats were exposed to 2.0 Gy of 56Fe particles to study the relationship between age and diet in the heavy particle-induced disruption of performance on an ascending fixed-ratio task. Irradiation produced a disruption of operant responding in rats tested 5 and 8 months after exposure, which was prevented by maintaining the rats on a diet containing strawberry, but not blueberry, extract. When tested 13 and 18 months after irradiation there were no differences in performance between the radiated rats maintained on control, strawberry or blueberry diets. These observations suggest that the beneficial effects of antioxidant diets may be dependent upon the age of testing.
antioxidant; behaviors; radiation; vision
The present review focuses on the utility of a canine model in evaluating nutritional interventions for age-related cognitive dysfunction. Aged dogs demonstrate progressive cognitive decline with concurrent amyloid-beta pathology that parallels the pathology observed in aging humans. Dogs, therefore, provide a natural model of human pathological aging. We have and are in the process of evaluating several nutritional-based interventions aimed at preventing cognitive decline and brain aging. In a three-year longitudinal study, we examined the effects of a diet enriched with antioxidants and mitochondrial cofactors on several measures of cognition and brain aging. Compared to controls, aged dogs on the enriched diet demonstrated both short- and long-term cognitive benefits, as well decreased deposition of amyloid-beta protein. The diet also reduced behavioral signs associated with canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome when assessed in veterinary clinical trials. We also have preliminary evidence suggesting a beneficial effect of a proprietary blend of docosahexaenoic acid and phospholipids on both cognitive and physiological measures. Collectively, our data indicate (1) that the dog, either in the laboratory or in the clinic, provides an important tool for assessing nutritional interventions and (2) that combination interventions aimed at several mechanisms of pathological aging may prove more effective than single nutritive components in human trials.
aging; Alzheimer’s disease; antioxidants; brain pathology; canine model; cognitive dysfunction; docosahexaenoic acid; mitochondrial cofactors; nutritional interventions; phospholipids
There are two firmly established methods of prolonging life. Calorie restriction (CR) using nutrient-rich diets to prolong life in lower animals, and life saving medications in humans to delay the development of the major diseases of middle and old age. These two approaches have different mechanisms of action. In rats, CR at 40% below ad libitum intake begun soon after weaning and continued until death, reduces body weight by about 40% and increases lifespan. There have been no lifelong CR studies performed on humans. However, in healthy adult human subjects about 20% CR over a period of 2–15 years, lowers body weight by about 20% and decreases body mass index (BMI) to about 19. This CR treatment in humans reduces blood pressure and blood cholesterol to a similar extent as the specific drugs used to delay the onset of vascular disease and so extend human life. These same drugs may act by mechanisms that overlap with some of the mechanisms of CR in retarding these pathologies and thus may have similar antiaging and life prolonging actions. Such drugs may be regarded as CR mimetics which inhibit the development of certain life shortening diseases, without the need to lower calorie intake. In developed countries, better medical care, drug therapy, vaccinations, and other public health measures have extended human life by about 30 years during the 20th century without recourse to CR, which is so effective in the rat. The percentage gain in human life expectancy during the 20th century is twice that achieved by CR in rat survival. However, rat longevity studies now use specific pathogen-free animals and start CR after weaning or later, thereby excluding deaths from infectious diseases and those associated with birth and early life. There is a need to develop CR mimetics which can delay the development of life-threatening diseases in humans. In the 21st century due to the human epidemic of overeating with a sedentary lifestyle, it may necessary to utilize CR to counter the aging effects of overweight. Since the greatest life-extending effects of CR in the rodent occur when started early in life, long-term antiaging therapy in humans should be initiated soon after maturity, when physiological systems have developed optimally.
blood pressure; calorie restriction mimetics; cardiovascular disease; cholesterol; lifespan; medications
Numerous degenerative changes in the visual system occur with age, including a loss of accommodative function possibly related to hardening of the lens or loss of ciliary muscle mobility. The rhesus monkey is a reliable animal model for studying age-related changes in ocular function, including loss of accommodation. Calorie restriction (CR) is the only consistent intervention to slow aging and extend lifespan in rodents, and more recently the beneficial effects of CR have been reported in nonhuman primates. The goal of the present study was to evaluate age-related changes in ocular accommodation and the potential effect of long-term (>8 years) CR on accommodation in male and female rhesus monkeys. Refraction, accommodation (Hartinger coincidence refractometer), and lens thickness (A-scan ultrasound) were measured in 97 male and female rhesus monkeys age 8–36 years under Telazol/acepromazine anesthesia. Refraction and accommodation measurements were taken before and after 40% carbachol corneal iontophoresis to induce maximum accommodation. Half the animals were in the control (CON) group and were fed ad libitum. The CR group received 30% fewer calories than age- and weight-matched controls. Males were on CR for 12 years and females for eight years. With increasing age, accommodative ability declined in both CON and CR monkeys by 1.03 ± 0.12 (P = 0.001) and 1.18 ± 0.12 (P = 0.001) diopters/year, respectively. The age-related decline did not differ significantly between the groups (P = 0.374). Baseline lens thickness increased with age in both groups by 0.03 ± 0.005 mm/year (P = 0.001) and 0.02 ± 0.005 mm/year (P = 0.001) for the CON and CR groups, respectively. The tendency for the for the lens to thicken with age occurred at a slower rate in the CR group vs. the CON group but the difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.086). Baseline refraction was −2.8 ± 0.55 and −3.0 ± 0.62 diopters for CON and CR, respectively. Baseline refraction tended to become slightly more negative with age (P = 0.070), but this trend did not differ significantly between the groups (P = 0.587). In summary, there was no difference in the slope of the age-related changes in accommodation, lens thickness, or refraction in the carbachol-treated eyes due to diet. These data are consistent with previous findings of decreased accommodative ability in aging rhesus monkeys, comparable to the age-dependent decrease in accommodative ability in humans. This study is the first to indicate that the accommodative system may not benefit from calorie restriction.
accommodation; diet; Macaca mulatta; refraction; vision
The potential for lifelong vitamin E supplementation to delay age-associated cognitive decline was tested in apoE-deficient and wild-type C57BL/6 mice. Beginning at eight weeks of age, the mice were maintained on a control diet or diets supplemented with dl-α-tocopheryl acetate yielding approximate daily intakes of either 20 or 200 mg/kg body weight. When 6 or 18 months of age, cognitive functioning of the mice was assessed using swim maze and discriminated avoidance testing procedures. For the mice maintained on control diets, the age-related declines in swim maze performance were relatively larger in apoE-deficient mice when compared with wild-type. On the other hand, age-associated declines in learning and working memory for discriminated avoidance were similar in the two genotypes. The 200-mg/kg dose of vitamin E prevented the accelerated decline in spatial learning apparent in 18-month-old apoE-deficient mice, but had no equivalent effect on performance declines attributable to normal aging in the wild-type mice. Vitamin E supplementation failed to prevent age-related impairments in learning and memory for discriminated avoidance observed in both the wild-type and apoE-deficient mice. The current findings are consistent with the hypothesis that apoE deficiency confers an accelerated, though probably selective, loss of brain function with age. This loss of function would appear to involve pathogenic oxidative mechanisms that can be prevented or offset by antioxidant supplementation.
alpha-Tocopherol; apolipoprotein E; apoE−/− mice; body weight; brain aging; C57BL/6 mice; cognitive decline; learning and memory; oxidative stress; spatial memory; survival; vitamin E; working memory
It has been known since the early 1900s that restriction of dietary intake relative to the ad libitum (AL) level increases stress resistance, cancer resistance, and longevity in many species. Studies investigating these phenomena have used three paradigms for dietary restriction. In the first, the AL intake of a control group is measured, and an experimental group is fed less than that amount in a specified proportion, e.g., 40%. In the second, food is provided AL to both the control and experimental groups: however, the experimental group is subjected to periods of fasting. Recent studies using this paradigm provide food every other day (EOD). Both of these paradigms have been in use since the early 1900s. A third paradigm that combines them was developed in the early 1970s: one or more days of fasting separate the provision of a limited amount of food. It was assumed for many years that the physiological responses to these paradigms were due exclusively to a net decrease in energy intake. Recently, however, it was found that some species and strains of laboratory animals, when fed AL every other day, are capable of gorging so that their net weekly intake is not greatly decreased. Despite having only a small deficit in energy intake relative to control levels, however, these animals experience enhanced longevity and stress resistance is enhanced in comparison to AL controls as much in animals enduring daily restriction of diet. These observations warrant renewed interest in this paradigm and suggest that comparisons of the paradigms and their effects can be used to determine which factors are critical to the beneficial effects of caloric restriction.
aging; caloric restriction; dietary restriction; fasting; longevity
With the goal of discovering genes that contribute to late-onset neurological and ocular disorders and also genes that extend the healthy life span in mammals, we are phenotyping mice carrying new mutations induced by the chemical N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU). The phenotyping plan includes basic behavioral, neurohistological, and vision testing in sibling cohorts of mice aged to 18 months, and then evaluation for markers of growth trajectory and stress response in these same cohorts aged up to 28 months. Statistical outliers are identified by comparison to test results of similar aged cohorts, and potential mutants are recovered for re-aging to confirm heritability of the phenotype.
age-onset; ENU mutations; longevity; neurological disorders; phenotype-screening
Dietary supplementation with fruit or vegetable extracts can ameliorate age-related declines in measures of learning, memory, motor performance, and neuronal signal transduction in a rat model. To date, blueberries have proved most effective at improving measures of motor performance, spatial learning and memory, and neuronal functioning in old rats. In an effort to further characterize the bioactive properties of fruits rich in color and correspondingly high in anthocyanins and other polyphenolics, 19-month-old male Fischer rats were fed a well-balanced control diet, or the diet supplemented with 2% extract from either blueberry, cranberry, blackcurrant, or Boysenberry fruit for eight weeks before testing began. The blackcurrant and cranberry diets enhanced neuronal signal transduction as measured by striatal dopamine release, while the blueberry and cranberry diets were effective in ameliorating deficits in motor performance and hippocampal HSP70 neuroprotection; these changes in HSP70 were positively correlated with performance on the inclined screen. It appears that the polyphenols in blueberries and cranberries have the ability to improve muscle tone, strength and balance in aging rats, whereas polyphenols in blueberries, cranberries and blackcurrants have the ability to enhance neuronal functioning and restore the brain’s ability to generate a neuroprotective response to stress.
anthocyanins; antioxidant; cognition; HPS70; memory; motor performance