14 November 2014

Anti-aging strategy

Leading researchers who managed to postpone mammalian aging under experimental conditions using genetic, dietary and pharmacological approaches have formulated a strategy to expand the scope of gerontological research, the purpose of which is to increase human life expectancy. This strategy was born at a critical moment, as the number of elderly people is steadily growing, while aging is the main risk factor for the development of most chronic diseases that lead to disability and death.

The idea of creating such a strategy was born at the first summit of the "Group Interested in Gerontology" (Geroscience Interest Group), held by the US National Institutes of Health last year. According to one of the members of the group that developed the strategy, Dr. Brian Kennedy, who is the president and chief executive officer of the Buck Institute for Aging Research, the authors have high hopes that their proposed approach will take research in this area to a new level. The result of the work done was a clear understanding that the factors triggering the aging process are very much interconnected, and in order to increase the duration of a healthy life, we need an integrated approach to health and disease conditions with the simultaneous understanding that biological systems change with age.

The main components of aging and research goals are listed below:

1. Adaptation to stressidentification of the mechanism leading from psychological stress to cellular stress;

  • determination of differences between hormesis (stimulating effect of moderate stress) and toxic stress;
  • development of more effective methods of transition from animal research to clinical research.

2. Epigeneticsdevelopment of biomarkers for comparison of biological and chronological age;

  • search for the relationship between age-related environmental impacts and epigenetic profiles;
  • testing of small molecules regulating the functions of enzymes that control epigenetic mechanisms;

3. Inflammationdetermination of differences between adaptive and inadequate inflammatory processes;

  • identification of sources of chronic age-related inflammation and their systemic effects;
  • determination of the effect of obesity and metabolic disorders on the course of inflammatory processes in old age.

4. Macromolecular damageformation of a systematic vision of the roles of various types of macromolecular lesions and their involvement in the development of chronic diseases;

  • explanation of the effect of stochastic damage on the variability of aging.

5. Metabolismdetermination of the role of signaling mechanisms involved in metabolic processes in aging processes;

  • explanation of the role of the circadian clock in the aging process and metabolism;
  • identification of the relationship between metabolic disorders and age-related extinction of the functions of certain tissues.

6. Proteostasis (stability of protein molecules)identification of proteostatic mechanisms suppressed in specific chronic diseases;

  • analysis of the mutual influence of proteostasis mechanisms;
  • explanation of the transmission of signals not limited to a single cell and the activation of proteostasis mechanisms.

7. Stem cells and regenerationdetermination of the possible role of the extinction of stem cell functions in triggering the aging process and the development of chronic diseases;

  • the study of the mechanisms by which aging and associated diseases have a detrimental effect on the functioning of stem cells;
  • determination of the mechanisms of accumulation of macromolecular damage in an aging human stem cell population.

In their work, the authors limited themselves to short- and medium-term research goals, the achievement of which could activate work in the field of gerontology and ensure the introduction of new approaches aimed at reducing the burden on healthcare associated with chronic age-related diseases. They call for the fusion of gerontology and currently ongoing research on chronic human diseases; interventions aimed at increasing life expectancy and, in particular, healthy life expectancy; identification of environmental factors accelerating the aging process and random factors; integration of the results of human genetics and epigenetics studies with animal models; comparison and comparison of inflammation in aging and diseases; as well as the development of new animal models of aging.

The researchers also note that the existing approach to the study and treatment of chronic diseases is inadequate and fragmented. By the time the diagnosis of a chronic disease is delivered, significant damage has already been caused to the body, which is extremely difficult to restore. At the same time, some patients need treatment of six or more chronic age-related diseases at the same time. Targeted work with aging will allow timely measures to be taken to preserve the energy and activity of people and at the same time reduce the economic burden created by the growing stratum of elderly people suffering from a variety of chronic diseases.

Article by Brian K. Kennedy et al. Geroscience: Linking Aging to Chronic Disease is published in the journal Cell.

Evgeniya Ryabtseva
Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru based on the materials of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging: Leading scientists identify research strategy for highly intertwined "pillars of aging" as the next step in supporting the trans-NIH Geroscience Interest Group's efforts to integrate aging into research on chronic diseases.


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