Osteoporosis Linked to Age-Related Changes in Circadian Rhythm

Researchers published a new editorial paper on restoring the circadian rhythm to minimize the risk of aging-related osteoporotic fractures.

The Trending With Impact series highlights Aging publications (listed as “Aging (Albany NY)” by Medline/PubMed and “Aging-US” by Web of Science) that attract higher visibility among readers around the world online, in the news, and on social media—beyond normal readership levels. Look for future science news about the latest trending publications here, and at Aging-US.com.

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The circadian rhythm is a daily cycle (24 hours) of biological activity that is driven by an internal biological clock. A regular circadian rhythm is important for maintaining numerous facets of human life. Aging-related changes to this delicate rhythm have demonstrated negative consequences in many aspects of health, including bone health.

“Among the many risk factors for osteoporosis, a new kid on the block is disruption of the biological clock.”

On July 19, 2022, an editorial paper was published in Aging‘s Volume 14, Issue 14, entitled, “Restoring rhythm to prevent age-related fractures.” In this editorial, Annelies E. Smit, Maaike Schilperoort and Elizabeth M. Winter from Leiden University Medical Center discuss the treatment of osteoporosis by way of restoring circadian rhythm. The researchers review the use of both medical and lifestyle interventions that aim to restore circadian rhythm to minimize the risk of aging-related osteoporotic fractures.

Osteoporosis & Cortisol

Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by decreased bone mass and an increased risk of bone fracture. Age-related osteoporosis is a major public health concern, particularly in postmenopausal women. Cortisol, a stress hormone and the most important endogenous glucocorticoid (GC), plays a key role in the regulation of circadian rhythm. Circulating cortisol levels are naturally highest in the morning and gradually decline throughout the day. (This high peak in cortisol is responsible for initiating the waking cycle each morning.)

“Rhythm in circulating cortisol levels is regulated by the ‘master clock’, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the hypothalamus.”

Unfortunately, as humans age, SCN rhythmicity frequently becomes decoupled from environmental rhythms. Changes in circadian rhythm can result from aging-related lifestyle changes, such as changes in light exposure (which can occur from decreasing visual capabilities), the sleep-wake cycle, eating habits, and exercise patterns. Over time, cortisol begins to peak earlier in the morning, and average circulating cortisol levels increase. The researchers argue that circadian rhythm-related changes in cortisol secretion result in a loss of bone mass and age-related osteoporosis.

“Since both SCN [5] and cortisol [6] rhythm amplitude decline with age, and because we demonstrated in a preclinical model that flat endogenous GC levels result in osteoporosis, we argue that flattened circadian rhythmicity in the elderly population is causally related to the high incidence of osteoporosis at older age [4].”

Restoring Circadian Rhythm

Glucocorticoid (GC) therapy is a common treatment for osteoporosis. Unfortunately, administering glucocorticoids at an improper time can disrupt the natural circadian rhythm of cortisol secretion, leading to an increased risk of osteoporotic fractures. The researchers suggest that restoring the circadian rhythm is critical for restoring healthy patterns of cortisol secretion, especially in patients receiving glucocorticoid therapy.

“In elderly, physical inactivity and irregular eating patterns are common, and both have been demonstrated to dysregulate bone rhythm [8].”

In addition to lifestyle changes, such as timed exercise and timed feeding, the researchers note that chronotherapy may contribute to reinforcing circadian rhythmicity. Chronotherapy is a promising new field of circadian medicine that aims to optimize the timing of drug administration to match the natural circadian rhythm. The researchers suggest glucocorticoids, and any other bone formation-promoting therapeutic, should be administered in the morning (to mimic the behavior of a healthy circadian rhythm). Chronotherapy can also incorporate lifestyle interventions, such as changes in sleeping patterns, sleep hygiene and light exposure therapy.

“Thus, restoring normal sleep/wake cycles by psychological and behavioural measures, such as strict bedtime routines, may strengthen SCN rhythm.”

Conclusion

Circadian rhythms are important for bone health and preventing age-related osteoporosis. Glucocorticoid therapy can disrupt circadian rhythms, but this disruption can be minimized by administering glucocorticoids in the morning. In addition, lifestyle changes and chronotherapy can help reinforce circadian rhythms.

“In conclusion, the multifaceted origin of age-related fractures asks for a full toolbox of intervention strategies, to which restoring circadian rhythm may provide a valuable addition. Lifestyle and medical interventions may improve sleep quality and decrease risk for osteoporotic fractures (Figure 1). Furthermore, respecting circadian timing through chronotherapy could optimize current and new therapeutic outcomes.”

Figure 1. Bone health depends on diurnal variation in bone turnover, which is regulated by the circadian timing system
Figure 1. Bone health depends on diurnal variation in bone turnover, which is regulated by the circadian timing system

Click here to read the full editorial paper published by Aging.

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Aging is an open-access journal that publishes research papers bi-monthly in all fields of aging research. These papers are available at no cost to readers on Aging-us.com. Open-access journals have the power to benefit humanity from the inside out by rapidly disseminating information that may be freely shared with researchers, colleagues, family, and friends around the world.

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Trending With Impact: Humanin G Treatment in AMD Reduces Inflammation

In the cover paper published in Aging-US Volume 14, Issue 10, researchers investigated a potential therapeutic intervention to reduce chronic inflammation in age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Trending With Impact: Humanin G Treatment in AMD Reduces Inflammation

The Trending With Impact series highlights Aging (Aging-US) publications that attract higher visibility among readers around the world online, in the news, and on social media—beyond normal readership levels. Look for future science news about the latest trending publications here, and at Aging-US.com.

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One of the leading causes of vision loss among aging populations in the United States, and worldwide, is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The progression of this disease is known to be driven by inflammatory processes. However, the exact inflammation-associated proteins and the mechanisms that drive them have not yet been fully elucidated.

“Inflammation plays a crucial role in the etiology and pathogenesis of AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration).”

In a new study in Aging (Aging-US), researchers from the University of California Irvine and the University of Southern California investigated a potential therapeutic intervention to reduce chronic inflammation in AMD and delay or prevent retinal degeneration. On May 16, 2022, this trending research paper was published on the cover of Aging’s Volume 14, Issue 10, and entitled, “Effect of Humanin G (HNG) on inflammation in age-related macular degeneration (AMD).”

“Our discovery is novel and may contribute to the development of therapeutics/ tools for reducing inflammation to alleviate AMD disease pathology.”

The Study

Humanin G (HNG) is a naturally produced peptide that may play a pivotal role in tissue homeostasis and normal functioning throughout the body—including the eyes. Previous studies have shown that high-intensity exercise and resistance training positively correlate with protein levels of Humanin G in human plasma and skeletal muscle. Studies have also shown that Humanin G protein levels negatively correlate with aging. In this study, researchers investigated the impact of exogenous Humanin G on markers of inflammation in AMD cells. 

“Moreover, treatment with exogenous Humanin G is known to reduce the expression of markers associated with aging-related disorders [32]. Therefore, we tested the effects of Humanin G on inflammatory markers in this study.”

First, the researchers measured levels of inflammation-associated proteins (including cell adhesion molecules, cytokines and chemokines) among samples of AMD plasma and normal (control) plasma. AMD plasma showed higher protein levels of inflammation markers compared to control plasma samples. Next, the researchers used the ELISA assay to measure Humanin G protein levels in the plasma of both AMD patients and normal subjects. They found that, in AMD patients, protein plasma levels of Humanin G were significantly lower compared to normal subjects. 

“In the current study, we found that the plasma levels of endogenous Humanin protein were significantly lower by 36.58 % in AMD patients compared to that in age-matched normal subjects.”

Exogenous Humanin G was then added to AMD and normal (control) cybrids derived from clinically characterized AMD patients and normal (control) subjects. Cell lysates were extracted from untreated and Humanin G-treated AMD and normal cybrids. Levels of inflammatory proteins were measured using the Luminex XMAP multiplex assay. The researchers observed that protein levels of inflammation markers previously elevated in AMD cells were reduced after Humanin G treatment. 

“To our knowledge, this is the first report that confirms the protective role of Humanin G against inflammation in AMD RPE transmitochondrial cybrid cells and it is significant because reducing ocular inflammation could alleviate its damaging effects observed in the RPE cells that eventually lead to retinal degeneration in AMD pathogenesis.”

Conclusion

“In conclusion, we present novel findings that: A) show reduced Humanin protein levels in AMD plasma vs. normal plasma; B) suggest the role of inflammatory markers in AMD pathogenesis, and C) highlight the positive effects of Humanin G in reducing inflammation in AMD.”

Results in this study are significant because treatment with exogenous Humanin G may be able to revert the abnormal levels of inflammatory proteins that are found in AMD patients back to (or near) normal ranges. These findings may lead to novel therapeutics that can improve AMD disease trajectory. 

“Further studies are required to gain an in-depth understanding of the mechanisms underlying Humanin G-mediated suppression of inflammation in AMD and to establish Humanin G’s therapeutic potential as an inhibitor of AMD-associated inflammation. Furthermore, in addition to administration of Humanin G, knockdown or knock-out of the studied inflammatory markers using siRNA or CRISPR editing, may present a new line of treatment for AMD.”

Click here to read the full research paper published by Aging (Aging-US).

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Aging (Aging-US) is an open-access journal that publishes research papers bi-monthly in all fields of aging research. These papers are available at no cost to readers on Aging-us.com. Open-access journals have the power to benefit humanity from the inside out by rapidly disseminating information that may be freely shared with researchers, colleagues, family, and friends around the world.

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Trending With Impact: Neuromodulation in Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment

Dr. Fabrizio Vecchio wrote about the potential synergistic effects of neuromodulation combined with cognitive training to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

Neuromodulation in Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment

The Trending With Impact series highlights Aging (Aging-US) publications that attract higher visibility among readers around the world online, in the news, and on social media—beyond normal readership levels. Look for future science news about the latest trending publications here, and at Aging-US.com.

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Many neurodegenerative disorders among elderly populations share some common characteristics. In dementias, for example, neurons and glial cells undergo a progressive loss of structure or function in the brain and spinal cord. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia and the main cause of cognitive impairment. Studies have confirmed that cognitive treatments, such as cognitive stimulation, training and rehabilitation, can improve brain function by increasing brain plasticity.

Recently, researcher Fabrizio Vecchio, from IRCCS San Raffaele Roma‘s Brain Connectivity Laboratory, discussed innovative treatment options for Alzheimer’s disease. On April 27, 2022, Dr. Vecchio published his new editorial paper in Volume 14, Issue 9, of Aging (Aging-US), entitled, “Cognitive training and neuromodulation for Alzheimer treatment.”

“Neuromodulation techniques are having a growing consensus as a therapeutic approach of incipient and mild to moderate dementia because of their capability to be modulated both in space, i.e. in different cortical and subcortical areas of the brain, and time.”

Neuromodulation

Neuromodulation is a considerably recent development in the medical field. This promising treatment option therapeutically alters nerve activity within specific neurological sites of the body using the targeted delivery of electrical stimulation or chemical agents. Neuromodulation can be used not only for patients with dementia but also for those with a number of other disorders, including chronic pain, epilepsy and psychiatric disorders. However, the demonstrated value of cognitive treatments has not been discounted by Dr. Vecchio. In his editorial paper, he discussed the potential synergistic effects of neuromodulation combined with cognitive training (COG). 

“Together with cognitive treatments one of the possible innovative strategies to be undertaken is the neuromodulation that involves non-invasive brain stimulation techniques (NIBS) such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS).”

Dr. Vecchio described his recent study on repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) combined with cognitive training. In this randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trial, researchers evaluated the efficacy of rTMS-COG treatment in Alzheimer’s patients. Before, immediately after and 40 weeks after rTMS-COG treatment, patients were assessed using neuropsychological and electroencephalography (EEG) examinations. The researchers evaluated six regions of the brain and analyzed neuropsychological and neurophysiological data derived from EEG. After six weeks of intensive daily treatment, immediate results showed an improvement in cognitive scales. At the 40-week follow-up evaluation, improvements in brain connectivity emerged.

“Based on these assumptions and promising results, particularly of rTMS and COG, some researchers hypothesized that a treatment combining rTMS and COG may result in synergic effects more effective [in] respect to applying the two therapies separately.”

Conclusion

Although more research must be conducted to confirm the clinical efficacy of neuromodulation for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, initial results are promising. Cognitive treatments should not be discounted either, as they have been shown to improve brain function. Dr. Vecchio suggests a potentially efficacious combination of neuromodulation and cognitive training that may offer significant benefits for patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

“In conclusion, rTMS combined with cognitive training, can be regarded as a potentially useful treatment for AD, not modifying the neuropathological changes, but slowing down their effects on brain networks and providing important groundwork for future studies to build upon. Derived EEG parameters can be awarded the role of diagnostic and predictive biomarkers of AD progression.”

Click here to read the full editorial paper published by Aging (Aging-US).

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Aging (Aging-US) is an open-access journal that publishes research papers bi-monthly in all fields of aging research. These papers are available at no cost to readers on Aging-us.com. Open-access journals have the power to benefit humanity from the inside out by rapidly disseminating information that may be freely shared with researchers, colleagues, family, and friends around the world.

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Aging-US: Hallmarks of Cancer and Hallmarks of Aging

“Hyperfunctional signaling directly drives age-related diseases.”

— Mikhail Blagosklonny, M.D., Ph.D.

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BUFFALO, NY- May 18, 2022 – Dr. Mikhail Blagosklonny published his new review paper in Aging (Aging-US) Volume 14, Issue 9, entitled, “Hallmarks of cancer and hallmarks of aging.”

In this review, Dr. Blagosklonny expands on Gems and de Magalhães’ notion that canonic hallmarks of aging are superficial imitations of the hallmarks of cancer. He takes their work a step further and proposes the hallmarks of cancer and aging based on a hierarchical principle and the hyperfunction theory.

“Here I present the hallmarks of cancer, depicted as a circle by Hanahan and Weinberg [1], not as the circle but hierarchically, from molecular levels to the organism (Figure 1).”

Figure 1. Hierarchical representation (from molecular to organismal levels) of the original hallmarks of cancer based on Hanahan and Weinberg. See text for explanation.

Next, Dr. Blagosklonny depicts the hallmarks of aging suggested by López-Otín et al. based on the hierarchical principle. 

“This representation renders hallmarks tangible but reveals three shortcomings (Figure 2).”

Figure 2. Hierarchical representation of the hallmarks of aging based on López-Otín et al. See text for explanation.

The first shortcoming that Dr. Blagosklonny notes is the lack of hallmarks on the organismal level. The second is that the relationship between hallmarks on different levels is unclear. The third is that the inclusion of genetic instability as a hallmark is based on the theory that aging is caused by the accumulation of molecular damage. 

“The molecular damage theory was refuted by key experiments, as discussed in detail [44–51].” 

Dr. Blagosklonny then uses the hyperfunction theory to arrange the hierarchical hallmarks of aging.

“Let us depict hallmarks of aging, according to the hyperfunction theory of aging (Figure 3).”

Figure 3. Hierarchical hallmarks of aging based on hyperfunction theory, applicable to humans. Non-life-limiting hallmarks are shown in brown color. See text for explanation.

Dr. Blagosklonny continues by discussing the key to understanding aging and aging as a selective force for cancer. He concludes this review by discussing the common hallmarks of cancer, aging and cell senescence.

“In organismal aging, cancer and cellular senescence, the same key signaling pathways, such as mTOR, are involved. This is why the same drugs, such as rapamycin, can suppress all of them.”

DOI: https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.204082 

Correspondence to: Mikhail V. Blagosklonny 

Email: Blagosklonny@oncotarget.comBlagosklonny@rapalogs.com 

Keywords: oncology, carcinogenesis, geroscience, mTOR, rapamycin, hyperfunction theory

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About Aging-US:

Launched in 2009, Aging-US publishes papers of general interest and biological significance in all fields of aging research and age-related diseases, including cancer—and now, with a special focus on COVID-19 vulnerability as an age-dependent syndrome. Topics in Aging-US go beyond traditional gerontology, including, but not limited to, cellular and molecular biology, human age-related diseases, pathology in model organisms, signal transduction pathways (e.g., p53, sirtuins, and PI-3K/AKT/mTOR, among others), and approaches to modulating these signaling pathways.

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Dr. Blagosklonny’s Rapamycin-Based Recommendation for Altos Labs

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After the January 2022 launch of Altos Labs, a new anti-aging biotechnology company, Mikhail (Misha) Blagosklonny, M.D., Ph.D., joined this exciting public conversation with a recommendation. Dr. Blagosklonny is a prominent scientist in the fields of cancer and aging research. He is well-known for his experimental research articles and theoretical papers on the hyperfunction theory of aging and the pursuit of longevity with rapamycin. On April 22, 2022, his latest research perspective was published in Oncoscience, and entitled, “Altos Labs and the quest for immortality: but can we live longer right now?” 

“Here I discuss how combining rapamycin with other modalities may let us live long enough to benefit from future discoveries in cellular reprogramming and what needs to be done at Altos Labs to make this happen.” (Source: Blagosklonny, 2022)

Altos Labs

Funded by multiple billionaire investors, including Jeff Bezos and Yuri Milner, Altos Labs has announced that their primary focus is on reprogramming cells in the pursuit of reversing the trajectory of many diseases, and thus, reversing aging.

“Altos Labs is a new biotechnology company focused on cellular rejuvenation programming to restore cell health and resilience, with the goal of reversing disease to transform medicine.” (Source: AltosLabs.com)

Altos Labs researchers are aiming to turn back the human aging process by resetting epigenetic clocks within our cells. Cellular rejuvenation programming is a process by which the aging of cells may be reversed, potentially leading to the prevention or reversal of age-related diseases, such as cancer. In animal studies, cellular rejuvenation programming has been shown to lead to improved healthspan and increased lifespan. Researchers at Altos Labs intend to investigate its effects in humans with further research. The process will potentially involve the use of the Yamanaka factors, specialized proteins known as sirtuins and artificial intelligence or machine learning. Implications of successfully developing this technology would be vast, and it could one day lead to a significant extension of the human lifespan.

Dr. Blagosklonny’s Recommendation

Following the public unveiling of this new and highly-funded quest to reverse aging through cellular reprogramming, Dr. Blagosklonny openly chimed in with a perceptive recommendation in his latest research perspective. Given that potential revelations learned from studies at Altos Labs may take years to be brought safely to public markets, Dr. Blagosklonny suggests that research at Altos Labs should also include a deep investigation into rapamycin, a clinically approved mTOR inhibitor. Rapamycin is a promising anti-aging agent that was first clinically approved as an immunosuppressive drug to prevent organ rejection after a kidney transplant. 

“Rapamycin treatment is rapidly becoming a mainstream anti-aging intervention.” (Source: Blagosklonny, 2022)

Dr. Blagosklonny writes that potential life-extension with rapamycin may allow us to slow aging while we await future discoveries that may reverse aging altogether. However, he also writes that treatment with rapamycin alone is unlikely to extend lifespan sufficiently enough to benefit from Altos Labs’ future discoveries within our lifetime. Dr. Blagosklonny urges that discovering efficacious combinations of rapamycin with other therapeutic agents may enable humans today to live long enough to benefit from Altos Labs’ future discoveries in cellular reprogramming.

“If Altos Labs would allocate a small percentage of its funding to develop rapamycin based drug combinations, then additional decades of life extension may be available 3–5 years from now.”

“The number of potential combinations with rapamycin is enormous.” (Source: Blagosklonny, 2022)

Click here to read Dr. Blagosklonny’s full research perspective, published in Oncoscience.

Press release: Altos Labs and the Quest for Immortality: Dr. Blagosklonny’s Perspective.

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TP53 Restoration Sensitizes Pancreatic Cancer to Multiple Drugs

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Patients over the age of 50 years old who have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer have a poorer rate of survival compared to younger patients. This means that pancreatic cancer is a disease associated with aging. The most common type of pancreatic cancer is pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and it is frequently diagnosed in its later stages. PDAC is often refractive to chemotherapies and develops resistance to inhibitors and other drugs. Therefore, there is a critical need for researchers to discover novel strategies to overcome drug resistance in PDAC cells.

One potential strategy is to focus on a key gene known for its involvement in many cell processes, including drug resistance and metabolism: TP53. The TP53 gene is often mutated or deleted in cancer cells, which can lead to drug resistance and cancer metastasis. In PDACS, this tumor suppressor gene has been shown to be mutated in 50–75% of patients.

“Many genes have been implicated in PDAC including KRAS, TP53, CDKN2A, SMAD4 and PDGFβR [3, 8, 9, 1822].”

In a new study, researchers—from Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Università di Bologna, University of Parma, and University of Wroclaw—further elucidated TP53’s role in drug resistance in PDAC cells. On April 27, 2022, their research paper was published in Aging (Aging-US) on the cover of Volume 14, Issue 8, and entitled, “Wild type and gain of function mutant TP53 can regulate the sensitivity of pancreatic cancer cells to chemotherapeutic drugs, EGFR/Ras/Raf/MEK, and PI3K/mTORC1/GSK-3 pathway inhibitors, nutraceuticals and alter metabolic properties.”

The Study

In these in vitro studies, the researchers cultured two different PDAC cell lines. One cell line had a gain of function (GOF) TP53 mutation (MIA-PaCa-2) and the other had a loss of TP53 (PANC-28). Both PDAC cell lines also have activating mutations in the KRAS gene. Next, the team introduced either wild-type TP53 (WT-TP53) or a control vector into both PDAC cell lines. Effects from this experiment were analyzed using 26 clinically approved agents.

The chemotherapeutic drugs included: Docetaxel, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), gemcitabine, Aclacinomycin, Doxorubicin, and Cisplatin. The signal transduction inhibitors included: ARS-1620, PD0325901, LY294002, Pifithrin-μ, 6-bromoindirubin-30-oxime (BIO), SB415286, CHIR99021, Rapamycin, AG1498, Gilteritinib, Sorafenib, OTX008, Tiplaxtinin, Verapamil, and Vismodegib. The natural products included: Cyclopamine, Parthenolide2, Isoliquiritin2, Genistein2, and Daidzein2. The researchers also illustrated the effects of WT-TP53 and mutant TP53 on PDAC cell metabolism with metformin and rapamycin.

“An overview of the effects of WT and mutant TP53 on metabolic properties, together with the effects of metformin and rapamycin, and drugs used to inhibit pancreatic cancer growth, is presented in Figure 16.”

Figure 16. Influences of mutant and WT-TP53 on mitochondrial activity and glucose metabolism and effects of rapamycin and metformin. The effects of WT and mutant TP53 on key enzymes important in glycolysis and how they can influence metabolism and PDAC tumor growth. In our studies, we have examined the effect of GOF mutant TP53 and in some cases WT TP53. In addition, sites of interaction of the type 2 diabetes drug metformin and the immunosuppressive drug rapamycin and their effects on AMPK and mTORC1 are indicated. TP53 can induce mitochondrial apoptosis pathway by regulating the expression of PUMA and other proteins.

The Results

The researchers found that, in the presence of chemotherapeutic drugs, PDAC clonogenicity was decreased by the restoration of WT-TP53. Overall, the restoration of WT-TP53 in PDAC cells increased sensitivity/decreased resistance to various chemotherapeutic drugs, inhibitors and natural products. WT-TP53 also influenced  PDAC cell metabolic properties, including their metabolism. The authors also noted that the activity of mTORC1 (target of rapamycin), which is important in cellular growth and metabolism, can be affected by mutant TP53. They found that GOF mutated TP53 may render PDAC cells more resistant to rapamycin.

“Rapamycin and metformin can interfere with some of the important pathways in the mitochondria, some of which are regulated by TP53 [9698].”

Conclusion

Overall, these results suggest that WT-TP53 can play a key role in PDAC cell sensitivity to multiple drugs used to treat pancreatic cancer. Further studies are needed to better understand the mechanisms underlying the effects of TP53 on drug resistance and metabolism in PDAC cells, as well as its clinical implications.

“Regardless of which of the above processes contributes more to the reduction of mitochondrial metabolism in comparison with the same cells that only express GOF TP53, together the observed changes suggest restoration of WT-TP3 activity confers increased sensitization to various drugs and therapeutic molecules, natural products as well as nutraceuticals.”

Click here to read the full research paper published by Aging (Aging-US).

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Aging (Aging-US) is an open-access journal that publishes research papers bi-monthly in all fields of aging research. These papers are available at no cost to readers on Aging-us.com. Open-access journals have the power to benefit humanity from the inside out by rapidly disseminating information that may be freely shared with researchers, colleagues, family, and friends around the world.

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Trending With Impact: Tobacco PEBP Increases Lifespan in Fruit Flies

Researchers conducted an interspecies analysis to determine the effects on aging that occur when certain plant proteins are expressed in animals and animal proteins are expressed in plants.

Fruit flies

The Trending With Impact series highlights Aging (Aging-US) publications that attract higher visibility among readers around the world online, in the news, and on social media—beyond normal readership levels. Look for future science news about the latest trending publications here, and at Aging-US.com.

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The proteostasis network is a cellular quality control system that ensures proteins fold correctly, damaged proteins are eliminated and protein pools are replenished. During the aging process, the proteome and respective signaling pathways frequently become error-prone. A class of proteins believed to play a role in aging-related processes is the phosphatidylethanolamine-binding proteins (PEBPs). These conserved regulators of signaling networks are found in plants, animals and other organisms.

In a previous 2021 study, researchers from Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME, University of Münster and Twyman Research Management demonstrated that a PEBP found in the tobacco plant, NtFT4, improves vitality, growth and protein yield when transfected in human cells. In a recent study, published in Aging (Aging-US) Volume 14, Issue 7, these same researchers transfected plant PEBPs in animals, and animal PEBPs in plants, to further investigate changes in activity within their respective aging processes. The research paper was published on April 8, 2022, and entitled, “The tobacco phosphatidylethanolamine-binding protein NtFT4 increases the lifespan of Drosophila melanogaster by interacting with the proteostasis network.”

“To investigate the functions of PEBPs in more detail, we undertook interspecies analysis and determined the molecular, cellular and organism-level effects of animal PEBPs expressed in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) and tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) and plant PEBPs expressed in Drosophila.”

The Study

Specifically, the team used tobacco plant PEBPs (NtFT2 and NtFT4), fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) PEBPs (CG7054 and Pebp1) and human PEBPs (RKIP and hPEBP4). They found that the expression of animal PEBPs in the thale cress (Arabidopsis) and tobacco plants had no effect on flowering or growth. However, the expression of tobacco PEBPs in animals did have an intriguing impact. The researchers observed that the tobacco PEBP NtFT4 increased the lifespan of fruit flies by interacting with the proteostasis network—through mechanisms such as heat shock protein 26 (HSP26). NtFT4 expression in older flies promoted longevity by prolonging Hsp26 gene expression and maintaining protein integrity. After the PEBP CG7054 was knocked down in fruit flies, overall lifespan significantly decreased and approximately 20% of adult flies died within two days.

“In contrast, the expression of plant PEBPs in Drosophila increased the adult fly lifespan by up to one third, whereas the silencing of the endogenous PEBP CG7054 reduced longevity.”

Conclusion

“The heterologous expression of NtFT4 in flies revealed new aspects of PEBP activity that point to a role in proteostasis, improving health and lifespan [41].”

This study provides new insights into the role of PEBPs in plants and animals and how they might contribute to the aging process. Plants may use different cellular mechanisms than animals when it comes to aging-related processes such as the regulation of signaling networks. The results of this study highlight the unique role that plants may play in understanding the aging process. Further studies are needed to better understand the molecular mechanisms behind these effects, as well as their potential applications for aging interventions in humans.

“We found that heterologous expression of the tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) PEBP NtFT4 in Drosophila melanogaster significantly increased the lifespan of adult flies and reduced age-related locomotor decline. Similarly, overexpression of the Drosophila ortholog CG7054 increased longevity, whereas its suppression by RNA interference had the opposite effect.”

Click here to read the full research paper published by Aging (Aging-US).

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Trending With Impact: Underlying Mechanisms of Replicative Senescence

Published on the cover of Aging’s Volume 14, Issue 7, researchers conducted a new study investigating the role of IGFBP5 in replicative senescence.

cell division illustration

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In 1961, Leonard Hayflick and Paul Moorhead proposed a theory later named the Hayflick Limit. They discovered that a normal human cell can divide between 50 and 70 times before it can no longer proliferate and eventually dies. Researchers have since continued to explore this phenomenon and, today, this aging process is known as cellular (replicative) senescence.

“There are currently several experimental models of cellular senescence. Hayflick and Moorhead observed that primary human fibroblasts in culture exhibit a limited proliferative capacity [6]. This growth arrest during passages is called replicative senescence.”

This permanent cessation of the cell cycle is universally found in biology due to known and unknown causes, including the shortening of telomeres. While telomere shortening plays an important role, it is not the only event responsible for inducing cellular senescence. Thus, researchers have spent decades under the microscope experimenting with cellular models of replicative senescence.

In a new study released on April 4, 2022, researchers from Sapporo Medical University in Sapporo, Japan, investigated mechanisms of replicative senescence in vitro. Their trending research paper was published on the cover of Aging (Aging-US) Volume 14, Issue 7, and entitled, “Downregulation of IGFBP5 contributes to replicative senescence via ERK2 activation in mouse embryonic fibroblasts.”

The Study

Cellular senescence is typically characterized by cell growth arrest, an increase of cells positive for SA-β -gal staining, and upregulation of p16 and p19. To begin this study, the team cultured embryonic mouse fibroblasts (MEFs) and conducted cell passages according to the 3T3 method. They found that the MEFs underwent senescence after the 5th passage (P5). The team also found that at P8, the expression of insulin-like growth factor binding protein 5 (IGFBP5) mRNA was significantly reduced when compared with that of P2 MEFs.

Next, the team performed a knockdown of IGFBP5 in the MEF cells. Results showed that IGFBP5 knockdown induced premature cellular senescence in P2 MEFs. Knockdown of IGFBP5 increased phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) but did not affect expression levels of Akt or p16 repressors. The researchers also found that supplementing the cell culture growth medium with additional exogenous IGFBP5 delayed growth arrest and reduced replicative senescence in the MEF cells.

“To examine whether activated ERK1 and ERK2 by IGFBP5 knockdown are involved in the induction of senescent phenotypes, we examined effects of knockdown of ERK1 and ERK2 using a combination with IGFBP5 siRNA in P2 MEFs.”

Upon further analysis of ERK1/2’s role in IGFBP5-knockdown cells, the team found that the silencing of ERK2, and not ERK1, blocked the increase in the number of SA-β-GAL-positive cells. ERK2 knockdown attenuated the reduction in the cell number and upregulation of p16 and p21 in IGFBP5-knockdown cells. This study provides evidence that downregulation of IGFBP5 contributes to replicative senescence via ERK2 activation in mouse embryonic fibroblasts.

Conclusion

For the first time, the role of IGFBP5 in replicative senescence was demonstrated in MEFs. Their findings suggest that ERK2 underlies cellular senescence induced by IGFBP5 downregulation. Cellular senescence appears to be a complex process with many moving parts. While more research is needed to fully understand the role of IGFBP5 in replicative senescence, this study provides new insights into the underlying mechanisms involved in this complex process.

“In conclusion, the results of the present study demonstrated that downregulation of IGFBP5 during serial passage contributes to replicative senescence via an ERK2-dependent mechanism (Figure 6). The results suggest that IGFBP5 counteracts replicative senescence in MEFs.”

Figure 6. Schematic summary of our findings. MEFs at early passage secrete certain levels of IGFBP5. Secreted IGFBP5 proteins inhibit MEK/ERK2 by attenuating their phosphorylation (P) in the neighboring cell, leading to suppression of cellular senescence. IGFBP5 secretion is decreased during serial passage, causing activation of ERK2 and cellular senescence.
Figure 6. Schematic summary of our findings. MEFs at early passage secrete certain levels of IGFBP5. Secreted IGFBP5 proteins inhibit MEK/ERK2 by attenuating their phosphorylation (P) in the neighboring cell, leading to suppression of cellular senescence. IGFBP5 secretion is decreased during serial passage, causing activation of ERK2 and cellular senescence.

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Aging (Aging-US) is an open-access journal that publishes research papers bi-monthly in all fields of aging research. These papers are available at no cost to readers on Aging-us.com. Open-access journals have the power to benefit humanity from the inside out by rapidly disseminating information that may be freely shared with researchers, colleagues, family, and friends around the world.

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Protein Linked to Aging-Related Muscle Loss

Researchers investigated the mitochondrial protein GRSF1 for its role in the physiology of skeletal muscle aging.

Figure 1. Expression of GRSF1 across myogenesis. (A) RT-qPCR analysis of GRSF1 mRNA levels in proliferating (0 h) and differentiating (24-120 h) human myoblasts; n=3. GRSF1 mRNA levels were normalized to the levels of GAPDH mRNA. (B) Western blot analysis of the levels of GRSF1 at the indicated times during differentiation; n=2. (C) Immunofluorescence detection of GRSF1 (green) and mitochondria (red) in proliferating myoblasts and differentiating myotubes. Arrowheads indicate GRSF1 signals; n=3. Scale bar, 50 μm.
Figure 1. Expression of GRSF1 across myogenesis. (A) RT-qPCR analysis of GRSF1 mRNA levels in proliferating (0 h) and differentiating (24-120 h) human myoblasts; n=3. GRSF1 mRNA levels were normalized to the levels of GAPDH mRNA. (B) Western blot analysis of the levels of GRSF1 at the indicated times during differentiation; n=2. (C) Immunofluorescence detection of GRSF1 (green) and mitochondria (red) in proliferating myoblasts and differentiating myotubes. Arrowheads indicate GRSF1 signals; n=3. Scale bar, 50 μm.
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Skeletal muscle is responsible for regulating physical movement and comprises between 30 and 40% of the human body’s mass. The loss of skeletal muscle has major impacts on overall health and quality of life—leading to frailty and a decreased ability to perform activities of daily living. The most common cause of muscle loss is aging, and a prevalent pattern of aging-associated muscular decline is known as sarcopenia.

“With advancing age, the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function, known as sarcopenia, leads to reduced muscle strength and diminishes individual mobility, quality of life, and lifespan [12].”

In a research paper published in Aging (Aging-US) Volume 13, Issue 11, researchers from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging and Chungnam National University investigated a protein that may play a role in aging-related muscle loss. Their paper was published on June 2, 2021, and entitled, “GRSF1 deficiency in skeletal muscle reduces endurance in aged mice.”

Skeletal Muscles and Mitochondrial Proteins

The healthy operation of skeletal muscle is dependent on well-regulated mitochondrial functioning. Skeletal muscle is extremely rich in mitochondria, as mitochondria supply muscle cells with the energy they need to help move the body, known as adenosine 5′-triphosphate, or ATP. With age, the mitochondria in skeletal muscles begin to progressively malfunction. The exact mechanisms involved in this decline have not been fully elucidated.

“In aging skeletal muscle, mitochondria display reduced function, altered morphology, and increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which contribute to a progressive loss of muscle mass and strength [1314].”

The guanine-rich RNA sequence binding factor 1 (GRSF1) protein is widely distributed in mammalian organs, and primarily enriched in mitochondria organelles. This makes the skeletal muscle an ideal organ in which researchers can study GRSF1, and other mitochondrial proteins, to investigate their role in aging-related processes such as sarcopenia. Although GRSF1 has been well-studied for its role in maintaining mitochondrial function, the involvement of GRSF1 in skeletal muscle aging had not yet been investigated until this study.

The Study

In this study, the researchers used Grsf1cKO mice—a mouse model in which GRSF1 is specifically knocked out in murine skeletal muscle cells. The mice appeared normal until 7-9 months of age. At 16-18 months of age, however, the researchers observed a reduction in muscle endurance compared to wild-type (WT) control mice. The authors postulated that these results suggested the loss of GRSF1 in skeletal muscle may not alter muscle function until later in life.

“The Grsf1cKO mice at this age ran about a 30% shorter treadmill distance on average relative to WT controls (Figure 3A).”

Upon further transcriptomic analysis, the team found that more than 200 muscle genes were differentially expressed in the GRSF1-deficient mice compared to the control mice. Some of the differentially expressed RNAs that were elevated in the Grsf1cKO mice were the hypoxia-inducible Mgarp mRNA, the mRNA encoding Sarcolipin (SLN), the pro-inflammatory proteins CXCL10 and NFKB2, and the transcription factor ATF3. The authors suggested that increased SLN mRNA may also potentially contribute to the decline in skeletal muscle endurance seen in Grsf1cKO mice.

“The reduction of endurance in Grsf1cKO muscle was accompanied by differential expression of several mRNAs, including some that encoded mitochondrial proteins, inflammatory proteins, ion transporters, and transcription factors (Mgarp, Sln, Cxcl10, Nfkb2, and Atf3 mRNAs).”

Conclusion

The researchers found that the absence of GRSF1 in murine skeletal muscle cells led to a decrease in muscle endurance. Initially, the researchers had anticipated that GRSF1 knock-out would lead to a dramatic loss in muscle function. However, their study revealed that the function of GRSF1 in skeletal muscle appeared to only be moderate. Overall, this is an important finding, as it provides new insights into the role of GRSF1 in muscle physiology and opens up new avenues for research into potential therapies for aging-related muscle loss.

“This modest in vivo effect suggests that there are redundant or compensatory mechanisms that prevent catastrophic damage from GRSF1 loss in aging muscle, and that identifying such factors might be of therapeutic benefit in diseases caused by impaired function of muscle mitochondria and impaired muscle regeneration.”

Click here to read the full priority research paper published in Aging (Aging-US).

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Aging (Aging-US) is an open-access journal that publishes research papers bi-monthly in all fields of aging research. These papers are available at no cost to readers on Aging-us.com. Open-access journals have the power to benefit humanity from the inside out by rapidly disseminating information that may be freely shared with researchers, colleagues, family, and friends around the world.

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Trending With Impact: Plasma Injection Improves Poor Response to IVF

Researchers investigated the effects of injecting platelet-rich plasma in women with a poor ovarian response to in vitro fertilization (IVF).

IVF

The Trending With Impact series highlights Aging (Aging-US) publications that attract higher visibility among readers around the world online, in the news, and on social media—beyond normal readership levels. Look for future science news about the latest trending publications here, and at Aging-US.com.

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In a day and age when women and men are beginning families later in the life cycle, women of advanced age (or with some health conditions) often have trouble becoming pregnant. Today, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is a widely-used form of assisted reproductive technology. This manual process of fertilization is achieved first by combining an egg and a sperm outside of the uterus and then helping the fertilized egg become implanted in the uterus.

The world’s first IVF baby was born in Lancashire, England, in 1978. Since then, this technique has solved reproductive issues for millions of women and men around the world. While this procedure has helped build many families, there is a subset of reproductively challenged women who exhibit resistance to IVF. Researchers have observed accelerated ovarian aging in women who demonstrate a poor ovarian response (POR) to IVF.

“These women are labeled ‘poor ovarian response’ (POR) or ‘poor responders’ due to a combination of low parameters of ovarian reserve and previous low oocyte yield after ovarian stimulation.”

In previous small-scale cohort and in vitro studies, exposure to platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has demonstrated improvements in ovarian tissue repair, regeneration and follicular development. In a new study, published in Aging (Aging-US) on March 22, 2022, researchers— from Acibadem Maslak HospitalAcibadem UniversityIVI RMA New JerseyThomas Jefferson University, and Yale School of Medicine—sought to validate these small-scale results by assessing the effects of intra-ovarian injection of autologous PRP in a cohort of 510 women with POR. Their trending research paper can be found in Volume 14, Issue 6, entitled, “Ovarian reserve parameters and IVF outcomes in 510 women with poor ovarian response (POR) treated with intraovarian injection of autologous platelet rich plasma (PRP).”

The Study

This prospective observational study took place in Acibadem Maslak Hospital in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2020. The study’s inclusion criteria admitted women who were diagnosed with POR, between 30 and 45 years old, had at least a one-year history of infertility, and had at least one ovary. After the exclusion criteria were accounted for, 510 women with POR were included in the study. Patients were divided into three groups for subgroup assessment: patients younger than 38 years old, patients between 38 and 42 years old and patients between 42 and 45 years old.

Before IVF, autologous PRP was administered to participants through intra-ovarian injections. (Learn more about PRP and IVF materials and methods in the study.) The team then assessed the effects of PRP on ovarian reserve parameters and IVF outcomes. Ovarian reserve parameters included antral follicle count (AFC), ovarian volume, serum anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) level, and serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) level. IVF outcomes were defined by the number of oocytes retrieved (an oocyte is an immature ovum, or egg cell) and the number and quality of embryos that developed, including embryos in cleavage and blastocyst stages.

The Results

Compared to baseline measures before treatment, PRP injections resulted in higher AFC, higher serum AMH, lower serum FSH, and a higher number of mature oocytes and cleavage/blastocyst stage embryos. In this cohort of women with POR, the PRP intervention yielded a total pregnancy rate of 20.5% and a sustained implantation/livebirth rate of 12.9%.

“After PRP injection, 22 women (4.3%) conceived spontaneously, 14 (2.7%) were lost to follow up, and 474 (92.9%) attempted IVF. Among women who attempted IVF, 312 (65.8%) generated embryos and underwent embryo transfer, 83 (17.5%) achieved a pregnancy, and 54 (11.4%) achieved sustained implantation/live birth (SI/LB).”

The researchers found that the greatest increase in IVF outcomes was seen in women 38 years old or younger. They also performed a receiver operating characteristic curve analysis and found that the cut-off for patients who would not benefit from PRP was 40 years old. The authors explained that this was due to a lack of ovarian response.

Conclusion

The researchers suggest that PRP may be considered for IVF cycles in women with POR, especially for those younger than 38 years old. However, the authors also caution that PRP should not be recommended as part of routine treatments until further prospective randomized trials test for clinical efficacy in wider clinical applications. Intra-ovarian injection of autologous PRP may someday be the standard of care for women with POR seeking IVF.

“In conclusion, intraovarian injection of autologous PRP might be considered in women with POR. The ideal population that may benefit from this approach can be summarized as patients <40 years old, with an FSH < 21.2 mIU/mL, AMH > 0.23 ng/ml, with at least one antral follicle, and a mean ovarian volume > 4.30 cm3.”

Click here to read the full research paper published by Aging (Aging-US).

AGING (AGING-US) VIDEOS: YouTube | LabTube | Aging-US.com

Aging (Aging-US) is an open-access journal that publishes research papers bi-monthly in all fields of aging research. These papers are available at no cost to readers on Aging-us.com. Open-access journals have the power to benefit humanity from the inside out by rapidly disseminating information that may be freely shared with researchers, colleagues, family, and friends around the world.

For media inquiries, please contact media@impactjournals.com.

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