bims-senagi Biomed News
on Senescence and aging
Issue of 2022‒02‒20
thirty-four papers selected by
Maria Grazia Vizioli
Mayo Clinic

  1. Nat Cell Biol. 2022 Feb;24(2): 135-147
      Ageing organisms accumulate senescent cells that are thought to contribute to body dysfunction. Telomere shortening and damage are recognized causes of cellular senescence and ageing. Several human conditions associated with normal ageing are precipitated by accelerated telomere dysfunction. Here, we systematize a large body of evidence and propose a coherent perspective to recognize the broad contribution of telomeric dysfunction to human pathologies.
  2. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Jan 23. pii: 572. [Epub ahead of print]14(3):
      Cellular senescence is a carefully regulated process of proliferative arrest accompanied by functional and morphologic changes. Senescence allows damaged cells to avoid neoplastic proliferation; however, the induction of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) can promote tumor growth. The complexity of senescence may limit the efficacy of anti-neoplastic agents, such as CDK4/6 inhibitors (Cdk4/6i), that induce a senescence-like state in tumor cells. The AKT kinase family, which contains three isoforms that play both unique and redundant roles in cancer progression, is commonly hyperactive in many cancers including melanoma and has been implicated in the regulation of senescence. To interrogate the role of AKT isoforms in Cdk4/6i-induced cellular senescence, we generated isoform-specific AKT knockout human melanoma cell lines. We found that the CDK4/6i Palbociclib induced a form of senescence in these cells that was dependent on AKT1. We then evaluated the activity of the cGAS-STING pathway, recently implicated in cellular senescence, finding that cGAS-STING function was dependent on AKT1, and pharmacologic inhibition of cGAS had little effect on senescence. However, we found SASP factors to require NF-κB function, in part dependent on a stimulatory phosphorylation of IKKα by AKT1. In summary, we provide the first evidence of a novel, isoform-specific role for AKT1 in therapy-induced senescence in human melanoma cells acting through NF-κB but independent of cGAS.
    Keywords:  AKT; cancer; melanoma; senescence; signaling
  3. Nucleus. 2022 Dec;13(1): 74-78
      Cellular senescence provokes a dramatic alteration of chromatin organization and gene expression profile of proinflammatory factors, thereby contributing to various age-related pathologies via the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). Chromatin organization and global gene expression are maintained through the CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF). However, the molecular mechanism underlying CTCF regulation and its association with SASP gene expression remains to be fully elucidated. A recent study by our team showed that noncoding RNA (ncRNA) derived from normally silenced pericentromeric repetitive sequences directly impair the DNA binding of CTCF. This CTCF disturbance increases the accessibility of chromatin at the loci of SASP genes and caused the transcription of inflammatory factors. This mechanism may promote malignant transformation.
    Keywords:  CTCF; Cellular senescence; pericentromeric RNA; senescence-associated secretory phenotype; small extracellular vesicles
  4. Semin Immunopathol. 2022 Feb 17.
      The cholangiopathies are a group of liver diseases that affect cholangiocytes, the epithelial cells that line the bile ducts. Biliary atresia (BA), primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) are three cholangiopathies with significant immune-mediated pathogenesis where chronic inflammation and fibrosis lead to obliteration of bile ducts and eventual liver cirrhosis. Cellular senescence is a state of cell cycle arrest in which cells become resistant to apoptosis and profusely secrete a bioactive secretome. Recent evidence indicates that cholangiocyte senescence contributes to the pathogenesis of BA, PBC, and PSC. This review explores the role of cholangiocyte senescence in BA, PBC, and PSC, ascertains how cholangiocyte senescence may promote a senescence-associated immunopathology in these cholangiopathies, and provides the rationale for therapeutically targeting senescence as a treatment option for BA, PBC, and PSC.
    Keywords:  Biliary epithelial cell; Cellular senescence; Cholangiopathies; Immunosenescence; Senescence-associated secretory phenotype; Senolytics
  5. Cells. 2022 Jan 21. pii: 359. [Epub ahead of print]11(3):
      Acute inflammation is a physiological response to injury or infection, with a cascade of steps that ultimately lead to the recruitment of immune cells to clear invading pathogens and heal wounds. However, chronic inflammation arising from the continued presence of the initial trigger, or the dysfunction of signalling and/or effector pathways, is harmful to health. While successful ageing in older adults, including centenarians, is associated with low levels of inflammation, elevated inflammation increases the risk of poor health and death. Hence inflammation has been described as one of seven pillars of ageing. Age-associated sterile, chronic, and low-grade inflammation is commonly termed inflammageing-it is not simply a consequence of increasing chronological age, but is also a marker of biological ageing, multimorbidity, and mortality risk. While inflammageing was initially thought to be caused by "continuous antigenic load and stress", reports from the last two decades describe a much more complex phenomenon also involving cellular senescence and the ageing of the immune system. In this review, we explore some of the main sources and consequences of inflammageing in the context of immunosenescence and highlight potential interventions. In particular, we assess the contribution of cellular senescence to age-associated inflammation, identify patterns of pro- and anti-inflammatory markers characteristic of inflammageing, describe alterations in the ageing immune system that lead to elevated inflammation, and finally assess the ways that diet, exercise, and pharmacological interventions can reduce inflammageing and thus, improve later life health.
    Keywords:  SASP; ageing; cytokines; immunosenescence; immunosurveillance; inflammageing; inflammation; senescence
  6. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Feb 08. pii: 1888. [Epub ahead of print]23(3):
      Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) play important biological roles. Here, the roles of the lncRNA KCNQ1OT1 in cellular senescence and calorie restriction were determined. KCNQ1OT1 knockdown mediated various senescence markers (increased senescence-associated β-galactosidase staining, the p53-p21Cip1/WAF1 pathway, H3K9 trimethylation, and expression of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype) and reactive oxygen species generation via CK2α downregulation in human cancer HCT116 and MCF-7 cells. Additionally, KCNQ1OT1 was downregulated during replicative senescence, and its silencing induced senescence in human lung fibroblast IMR-90 cells. Additionally, an miR-760 mimic suppressed KCNQ1OT1-mediated CK2α upregulation, indicating that KCNQ1OT1 upregulated CK2α by sponging miR-760. Finally, the KCNQ1OT1-miR-760 axis was involved in both lipopolysaccharide-mediated CK2α reduction and calorie restriction (CR)-mediated CK2α induction in these cells. Therefore, for the first time, this study demonstrates that the KCNQ1OT1-miR-760-CK2α pathway plays essential roles in senescence and CR, thereby suggesting that KCNQ1OT1 is a novel therapeutic target for an alternative treatment that mimics the effects of anti-aging and CR.
    Keywords:  KCNQ1OT1; calorie restriction; long non-coding RNA; miR-760; protein kinase CK2; senescence
  7. Immun Ageing. 2022 Feb 14. 19(1): 9
      BACKGROUND: COPD is associated with an abnormal lung immune response that leads to tissue damage and remodeling of the lung, but also to systemic effects that compromise immune responses. Cigarette smoking also impacts on innate and adaptative immune responses, exerting dual, pro- and anti-inflammatory effects. Previously, we showed that COPD patients presented accelerated telomere shortening and decreased telomerase activity, while, paradoxically, cigarette-smokers exhibited preserved telomerase activity and slower rate of telomere shortening.RESULTS: Here, we evaluated the naive, CM, EM and TEMRA subsets of TCD4 and TCD8 cells according to the expression of CCR7/CD45RA. We compared age-matched COPD patients, cigarette-smokers without clinical-laboratory evidence of pulmonary compromise, and healthy individuals. They were additionally compared with a group of young adults. For each subset we analysed the expression of markers associated with late differentiation, senescence and exhaustion (CD27/CD28/CD57/KLRG1/PD1). We show that COPD patients presented a drastically reduced naive cells pool, and, paradoxically, increased fractions of naive cells expressing late differentiation, senescence or exhaustion markers, likely impacting on their immunocompetence. Pronounced phenotypic alterations were also evidenced in their three memory T-cell subsets compared with the other aged and young groups, suggesting an also dysfunctional memory pool. Surprisingly, our smokers showed a profile closer to the Healthy aged than COPD patients. They exhibited the usual age-associated shift of naive to EM TCD4 and TCD8 cells, but not to CM or TEMRA T-cells. Nonetheless, their naive T-cells phenotypes were in general similar to those of the Youngs and Healthy aged, suggesting a rather phenotypically preserved subset, while the memory T-cells exhibited increased proportions of cells with the late-differentiation or senescence/exhaustion markers as in the Healthy aged.
    CONCLUSION: Our study extends previous findings by showing that COPD patients have cells expressing a full range of late differentiated, senescent or exhausted phenotypes encompassing all TCD4 and TCD8 subsets, consistent with a premature immunosenescence phenotype. Surprisingly, the smokers group's results suggest that moderate to heavy chronic cigarette smoking did not accelerate the pace of immunosenescence as compared with the Healthy aged.
    Keywords:  Aging; COPD; Cellular senescence; Cigarette smoke; Immunophenotyping; Immunosenescence
  8. Cells. 2022 Feb 08. pii: 584. [Epub ahead of print]11(3):
      High mobility group box 2 (HMGB2) is a non-histone chromosomal protein involved in various biological processes, including cellular senescence. However, its role in cellular senescence has not been evaluated extensively. To determine the regulatory role and mechanism of HMGB2 in cellular senescence, we performed gene expression analysis, senescence staining, and tube formation assays using young and senescent microvascular endothelial cells (MVECs) after small RNA treatment or HMGB2 overexpression. HMGB2 expression decreased with age and was regulated at the transcriptional level. siRNA-mediated downregulation inhibited cell proliferation and accelerated cellular senescence. In contrast, ectopic overexpression delayed senescence and maintained relatively higher tube-forming activity. To determine the HMGB2 downregulation mechanism, we screened miRNAs that were significantly upregulated in senescent MVECs and selected HMGB2-targeting miRNAs. Six miRNAs, miR-23a-3p, 23b-3p, -181a-5p, -181b-5p, -221-3p, and -222-3p, were overexpressed in senescent MVECs. Ectopic introduction of miR-23a-3p, -23b-3p, -181a-5p, -181b-5p, and -221-3p, with the exception of miR-222-3p, led to the downregulation of HMGB2, upregulation of senescence-associated markers, and decreased tube formation activity. Inhibition of miR-23a-3p, -181a-5p, -181b-5p, and -221-3p delayed cellular senescence. Restoration of HMGB2 expression using miRNA inhibitors represents a potential strategy to overcome the detrimental effects of cellular senescence in endothelial cells.
    Keywords:  high mobility group box 2; microRNA; microvascular endothelial cell; senescence
  9. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2022 Feb 09. pii: S0006-291X(22)00181-4. [Epub ahead of print]599 43-50
      The cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p16Ink4a plays a central role in cellular senescence in vitro. Although previous studies suggested cellular senescence is integrated in the systemic mechanisms of organismal aging, the localization and the dynamics of p16Ink4a in tissues remain poorly understood, which hinders uncovering the role of p16Ink4a under the in vivo context. One of the reasons is due to the lack of reliable reagents; as we also demonstrate here that commonly used antibodies raised against human p16INK4A barely recognize its murine ortholog. Here we generated a mouse model, in which the endogenous p16Ink4a is HA-tagged at its N-terminus, to explore the protein expression of p16Ink4a at the organismal level. p16Ink4a was induced at the protein level along the course of senescence in primary embryonic fibroblasts derived from the mice, consistently to its transcriptional level. Remarkably, however, p16Ink4a was not detected in the tissues of the mice exposed to pro-senescence conditions including genotoxic stress and activation of oncogenic signaling pathways, indicating that there is only subtle p16Ink4a proteins induced. These results in our mouse model highlight the need for caution in evaluating p16Ink4a protein expression in vivo.
    Keywords:  Cellular senescence; Mouse p16(Ink4a) protein; Organismal aging; Reporter mouse; p16(Ink4a) antibody
  10. Front Pharmacol. 2021 ;12 818355
      Age-related cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) remain among the leading global causes of death, and vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) remodeling plays an essential role in its pathology. Reduced NO-cGMP pathway signaling is a major feature and pathogenic mechanism underlying vasodilator dysfunction. Recently, we identified phosphodiesterase (PDE) 1, an enzyme that hydrolyzes and inactivates the cyclic nucleotides cAMP and cGMP, and thereby provides a potential treatment target for restoring age-related vascular dysfunction due to aging of VSMC. Based on this hypothesis, we here tested the effects of PDE1 inhibition in a model of SMC-specific accelerated aging mice. SMC-KO and their WT littermates received either vehicle or the PDE1 inhibitor lenrispodun for 8 weeks. Vascular function was measured both in vivo (Laser Doppler technique) and ex vivo (organ bath). Moreover, we deployed UV irradiation in cell culture experiments to model accelerated aging in an in vitro situation. SMC-KO mice display a pronounced loss of vasodilator function in the isolated aorta, the cutaneous microvasculature, and mesenteric arteries. Ex vivo, in isolated vascular tissue, we found that PDE1 inhibition with lenrispodun improves vasodilation, while no improvement was observed in isolated aorta taken from mice after chronic treatment in vivo. However, during lenrispodun treatment in vivo, an enhanced microvascular response in association with upregulated cGMP levels was seen. Further, chronic lenrispodun treatment decreased TNF-α and IL-10 plasma levels while the elevated level of IL-6 in SMC-KO mice remained unchanged after treatment. PDE1 and senescence markers, p16 and p21, were increased in both SMC-KO aorta and cultured human VSMC in which DNA was damaged by ultraviolet irradiation. This increase was lowered by chronic lenrispodun. In contrast, lenrispodun increased the level of PDE1A in both situations. In conclusion, we demonstrated that PDE1 inhibition may be therapeutically useful in reversing aspects of age-related VSMC dysfunction by potentiating NO-cGMP signaling, preserving microvascular function, and decreasing senescence. Yet, after chronic treatment, the effects of PDE1 inhibition might be counteracted by the interplay between differential PDE1A and C expression. These results warrant further pharmacodynamic profiling of PDE enzyme regulation during chronic PDE1 inhibitor treatment.
    Keywords:  NO-cGMP pathway; cardiovascular; inflammation; phosphodiesterase; smooth muscle cell; vascular aging
  11. Aging (Albany NY). 2022 Feb 14. 14(undefined):
      Radiation therapy is a commonly used treatment modality for cancer. Although effective in providing local tumor control, radiation causes oxidative stress, inflammation, immunomodulatory and mitogenic cytokine production, extracellular matrix production, and premature senescence in lung parenchyma. The senescence associated secretory phenotype (SASP) can promote inflammation and stimulate alterations in the surrounding tissue. Therefore, we hypothesized that radiation-induced senescent parenchymal cells in irradiated lung would enhance tumor growth. Using a murine syngeneic tumor model of melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer lung metastasis, we demonstrate that radiation causes a significant increase in markers of premature senescence in lung parenchyma within 4 to 8 weeks. Further, injection of B16F0 (melanoma) or Lewis Lung carcinoma (epidermoid lung cancer) cells at these time points after radiation results in an increase in the number and size of pulmonary tumor nodules relative to unirradiated mice. Treatment of irradiated mice with a senolytic agent (ABT-737) or agents that prevent senescence (rapamycin, INK-128) was sufficient to reduce radiation-induced lung parenchymal senescence and to mitigate radiation-enhanced tumor growth. These agents abrogated radiation-induced expression of 12-Lipoxygenase (12-LOX), a molecule implicated in several deleterious effects of senescence. Deficiency of 12-LOX prevented radiation-enhanced tumor growth. Together, these data demonstrate the pro-tumorigenic role of radiation-induced senescence, introduces the dual TORC inhibitor INK-128 as an effective agent for prevention of radiation-induced normal tissue senescence, and identifies senescence-associated 12-LOX activity as an important component of the pro-tumorigenic irradiated tissue microenvironment. These studies suggest that combining senotherapeutic agents with radiotherapy may decrease post-therapy tumor growth.
    Keywords:  Alox12; metastasis; radiation; senescence; senolytic
  12. J Clin Invest. 2022 02 15. pii: e141848. [Epub ahead of print]132(4):
      As life expectancy continues to increase, clinicians are challenged by age-related renal impairment that involves podocyte senescence and glomerulosclerosis. There is now compelling evidence that lithium has a potent antiaging activity that ameliorates brain aging and increases longevity in Drosophila and Caenorhabditis elegans. As the major molecular target of lithium action and a multitasking protein kinase recently implicated in a variety of renal diseases, glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) is overexpressed and hyperactive with age in glomerular podocytes, correlating with functional and histological signs of kidney aging. Moreover, podocyte-specific ablation of GSK3β substantially attenuated podocyte senescence and glomerular aging in mice. Mechanistically, key mediators of senescence signaling, such as p16INK4A and p53, contain high numbers of GSK3β consensus motifs, physically interact with GSK3β, and act as its putative substrates. In addition, therapeutic targeting of GSK3β by microdose lithium later in life reduced senescence signaling and delayed kidney aging in mice. Furthermore, in psychiatric patients, lithium carbonate therapy inhibited GSK3β activity and mitigated senescence signaling in urinary exfoliated podocytes and was associated with preservation of kidney function. Thus, GSK3β appears to play a key role in podocyte senescence by modulating senescence signaling and may be an actionable senostatic target to delay kidney aging.
    Keywords:  Aging; Bipolar disorder; Cellular senescence; Cytoskeleton; Nephrology
  13. Nat Commun. 2022 Feb 17. 13(1): 956
      Cellular senescence is implicated in a great number of diseases including cancer. Although alterations in mitochondrial metabolism were reported as senescence drivers, the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. We report the mechanism altering mitochondrial function and OXPHOS in stress-induced senescent fibroblasts. We demonstrate that TRPC3 protein, acting as a controller of mitochondrial Ca2+ load via negative regulation of IP3 receptor-mediated Ca2+ release, is down regulated in senescence regardless of the type of senescence inducer. This remodelling promotes cytosolic/mitochondrial Ca2+ oscillations and elevates mitochondrial Ca2+ load, mitochondrial oxygen consumption rate and oxidative phosphorylation. Re-expression of TRPC3 in senescent cells diminishes mitochondrial Ca2+ load and promotes escape from OIS-induced senescence. Cellular senescence evoked by TRPC3 downregulation in stromal cells displays a proinflammatory and tumour-promoting secretome that encourages cancer epithelial cell proliferation and tumour growth in vivo. Altogether, our results unravel the mechanism contributing to pro-tumour behaviour of senescent cells.
  14. Cells. 2022 Jan 29. pii: 468. [Epub ahead of print]11(3):
      Epigenetic alterations pose one major hallmark of organismal aging. Here, we provide an overview on recent findings describing the epigenetic changes that arise during aging and in related maladies such as neurodegeneration and cancer. Specifically, we focus on alterations of histone modifications and DNA methylation and illustrate the link with metabolic pathways. Age-related epigenetic, transcriptional and metabolic deregulations are highly interconnected, which renders dissociating cause and effect complicated. However, growing amounts of evidence support the notion that aging is not only accompanied by epigenetic alterations, but also at least in part induced by those. DNA methylation clocks emerged as a tool to objectively determine biological aging and turned out as a valuable source in search of factors positively and negatively impacting human life span. Moreover, specific epigenetic signatures can be used as biomarkers for age-associated disorders or even as targets for therapeutic approaches, as will be covered in this review. Finally, we summarize recent potential intervention strategies that target epigenetic mechanisms to extend healthy life span and provide an outlook on future developments in the field of longevity research.
    Keywords:  DNA methylation; DNAm age; accelerated epigenetic aging; age-associated disorders; biomarker; deep learning; health span; histone modification; longevity; metabolism; methylation clock; microbiome; single-cell sequencing
  15. Aging Cell. 2022 Feb 15. e13568
      Mammalian oocyte quality reduces with age. We show that prior to the occurrence of significant aneuploidy (9M in mouse), heterochromatin histone marks are lost, and oocyte maturation is impaired. This loss occurs in both constitutive and facultative heterochromatin marks but not in euchromatic active marks. We show that heterochromatin loss with age also occurs in human prophase I-arrested oocytes. Moreover, heterochromatin loss is accompanied in mouse oocytes by an increase in RNA processing and associated with an elevation in L1 and IAP retrotransposon expression and in DNA damage and DNA repair proteins nuclear localization. Artificial inhibition of the heterochromatin machinery in young oocytes causes an elevation in retrotransposon expression and oocyte maturation defects. Inhibiting retrotransposon reverse-transcriptase through azidothymidine (AZT) treatment in older oocytes partially rescues their maturation defects and activity of the DNA repair machinery. Moreover, activating the heterochromatin machinery via treatment with the SIRT1 activating molecule SRT-1720, or overexpression of Sirt1 or Ezh2 via plasmid electroporation into older oocytes causes an upregulation in constitutive heterochromatin, downregulation of retrotransposon expression, and elevated maturation rates. Collectively, our work demonstrates a significant process in oocyte aging, characterized by the loss of heterochromatin-associated chromatin marks and activation of specific retrotransposons, which cause DNA damage and impair oocyte maturation.
    Keywords:  epigenetic aging; heterochromatin; meiosis; oocytes; reproductive aging; retrotransposons
  16. Cells. 2022 Feb 04. pii: 541. [Epub ahead of print]11(3):
      A plethora of factors have been attributed to underly aging, including oxidative stress, telomere shortening and cellular senescence. Several studies have shown a significant role of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p16ink4a in senescence and aging. However, its expression in development has been less well documented. Therefore, to further clarify a potential role of p16 in development and aging, we conducted a developmental expression study of p16, as well as of p19ARF and p21, and investigated their expression on the RNA level in brain, heart, liver, and kidney of mice at embryonic, postnatal, adult, and old ages. P16 expression was further assessed on the protein level by immunohistochemistry. Expression of p16 was highly dynamic in all organs in embryonic and postnatal stages and increased dramatically in old mice. Expression of p19 and p21 was less variable and increased to a moderate extent at old age. In addition, we observed a predominant expression of p16 mRNA and protein in liver endothelial cells versus non-endothelial cells of old mice, which suggests a functional role specifically in liver endothelium of old subjects. Thus, p16 dynamic spatiotemporal expression might implicate p16 in developmental and physiological processes in addition to its well-known function in the build-up of senescence.
    Keywords:  SASP; aging; brain; development; endothelial cells; heart; kidney; liver; senescence
  17. Aging Cell. 2022 Feb 15. e13556
      Aging is an important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, and aging-related cardiac dysfunction serves as a major determinant of morbidity and mortality in elderly populations. Our previous study has identified fibronectin type III domain-containing 5 (FNDC5) and its cleaved form, irisin, as the cardioprotectant against doxorubicin-induced cardiomyopathy. Herein, aging or matched young mice were overexpressed with FNDC5 by adeno-associated virus serotype 9 (AAV9) vectors, or subcutaneously infused with irisin to uncover the role of FNDC5 in aging-related cardiac dysfunction. To verify the involvement of nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor with a pyrin domain 3 (NLRP3) and AMP-activated protein kinase α (AMPKα), Nlrp3 or Ampkα2 global knockout mice were used. Besides, young mice were injected with AAV9-FNDC5 and maintained for 12 months to determine the preventive effect of FNDC5. Moreover, neonatal rat cardiomyocytes were stimulated with tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) to examine the role of FNDC5 in vitro. We found that FNDC5 was downregulated in aging hearts. Cardiac-specific overexpression of FNDC5 or irisin infusion significantly suppressed NLRP3 inflammasome and cardiac inflammation, thereby attenuating aging-related cardiac remodeling and dysfunction. In addition, irisin treatment also inhibited cellular senescence in TNF-α-stimulated cardiomyocytes in vitro. Mechanistically, FNDC5 activated AMPKα through blocking the lysosomal degradation of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor. More importantly, FNDC5 gene transfer in early life could delay the onset of cardiac dysfunction during aging process. We prove that FNDC5 improves aging-related cardiac dysfunction by activating AMPKα, and it might be a promising therapeutic target to support cardiovascular health in elderly populations.
    Keywords:  AMPKα; FNDC5; aging-related cardiac dysfunction; inflammation
  18. Cells. 2022 Jan 30. pii: 481. [Epub ahead of print]11(3):
      Parkinson's disease (PD) is an age-related neurodegenerative disease caused by a selective loss of dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the substantia nigra (SN). Microglial activation is implicated in the pathogenesis of PD. This study aimed to characterize the role of microglial activation in aging-related nigral DA neuron loss and motor deficits in mice. We showed that, compared to 3-month-old mice, the number of DA neurons in the SN and the expression of dopamine transporter (DAT) in the striatum decreased during the period of 9 to 12 months of age. Motor deficits and microglial activation in the SN were also evident during these months. The number of DA neurons was negatively correlated with the degrees of microglial activation. The inhibition of age-related microglial activation by ibuprofen during these 3 months decreased DA neuron loss in the SN. Eliminating the microglia prevented systemic inflammation-induced DA neuron death. Forcing mice to run during these 3 months inhibited microglial activation and DA neuron loss. Blocking the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling eliminated the exercise-induced protective effects. In conclusion, nigral DA neurons were susceptible to local microglial activation. Running exercise upregulated BDNF-TrkB signaling and inhibited microglial activation during aging. Long-term exercise can be considered as a non-pharmacological strategy to ameliorate microglial activation and related neurodegeneration.
    Keywords:  brain-derived neurotrophic factor; dopaminergic neurons; exercise; microglial activation
  19. Curr Protoc. 2022 Feb;2(2): e372
      Mitochondria have emerged as key drivers of mammalian innate immune responses, functioning as signaling hubs to trigger inflammation and orchestrating metabolic switches required for phagocyte activation. Mitochondria also contain damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), molecules that share similarity with pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) and can engage innate immune sensors to drive inflammation. The aberrant release of mitochondrial DAMPs during cellular stress and injury is an increasingly recognized trigger of inflammatory responses in human diseases. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is a particularly potent DAMP that engages multiple innate immune sensors, although mounting evidence suggests that cytosolic mtDNA is primarily detected via the cyclic GMP-AMP synthase-stimulator of interferon genes (cGAS-STING) pathway. cGAS and STING are widely expressed in mammalian cells and serve as key regulators of type I interferon and cytokine expression in both infectious and inflammatory diseases. Despite growing roles for the mtDNA-cGAS-STING axis in human disease, assays to quantify mtDNA release into the cytosol and approaches to link mtDNA to cGAS-STING signaling are not standardized, which increases the possibility for experimental artifacts and misinterpretation of data. Here, we present a series of protocols for assaying the release of mtDNA into the cytosol and subsequent activation of innate immune signaling in mammalian cells. We highlight genetic and pharmacological approaches to induce and inhibit mtDNA release from mitochondria. We also describe immunofluorescence microscopy and cellular fractionation assays to visualize morphological changes in mtDNA and quantify mtDNA accumulation in the cytosol. Finally, we include protocols to examine mtDNA-dependent cGAS-STING activation by RT-qPCR and western blotting. These methods can be performed with standard laboratory equipment and are highly adaptable to a wide range of mammalian cell types. They will permit researchers working across the spectrum of biological and biomedical sciences to accurately and reproducibly measure cytosolic mtDNA release and resulting innate immune responses. © 2022 Wiley Periodicals LLC. Basic Protocol 1: siRNA-mediated knockdown of TFAM to induce mtDNA instability, cytosolic release, and activation of the cGAS-STING pathway Alternate Protocol: Pharmacological induction of mtDNA release and cGAS-STING activation using ABT-737 and Q-VD-OPH Basic Protocol 2: Isolation and quantitation of DNA from cytosolic, mitochondrial, and nuclear fractions Basic Protocol 3: Pharmacological inhibition of mtDNA replication and release.
    Keywords:  STING; cGAS; innate immunity; mitochondria; mitochondrial DNA
  20. Life Sci Alliance. 2022 May;pii: e202101286. [Epub ahead of print]5(5):
      Adipose tissue fibrosis is regulated by the chronic and progressive metabolic imbalance caused by differences in caloric intake and energy expenditure. By exploring the cellular heterogeneity within fibrotic adipose tissue, we demonstrate that early adipocyte progenitor cells expressing both platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR) α and β are the major contributors to extracellular matrix deposition. We show that the fibrotic program is promoted by senescent macrophages. These macrophages were enriched in the fibrotic stroma and exhibit a distinct expression profile. Furthermore, we demonstrate that these cells display a blunted phagocytotic capacity and acquire a senescence-associated secretory phenotype. Finally, we determined that osteopontin, which was expressed by senescent macrophages in the fibrotic environment promoted progenitor cell proliferation, fibrotic gene expression, and inhibited adipogenesis. Our work reveals that obesity promotes macrophage senescence and provides a conceptual framework for the discovery of rational therapeutic targets for metabolic and inflammatory disease associated with obesity.
  21. Aging Cell. 2022 Feb 19. e13565
      Regulation of neuroinflammation and β-amyloid (Aβ) production are critical factors in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Cathepsin E (CatE), an aspartic protease, is widely studied as an inducer of growth arrest and apoptosis in several types of cancer cells. However, the function of CatE in AD is unknown. In this study, we demonstrated that the ablation of CatE in human amyloid precursor protein knock-in mice, called APPNL-G-F mice, significantly reduced Aβ accumulation, neuroinflammation, and cognitive impairments. Mechanistically, microglial CatE is involved in the secretion of soluble TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand, which plays an important role in microglia-mediated NF-κB-dependent neuroinflammation and neuronal Aβ production by beta-site APP cleaving enzyme 1. Furthermore, cannula-delivered CatE inhibitors improved memory function and reduced Aβ accumulation and neuroinflammation in AD mice. Our findings reveal that CatE as a modulator of microglial activation and neurodegeneration in AD and suggest CatE as a therapeutic target for AD by targeting neuroinflammation and Aβ pathology.
    Keywords:   TRAIL ; Alzheimers disease; amyloid-β; cathepsin E; microglia; neuroinflammation
  22. Molecules. 2022 Jan 23. pii: 738. [Epub ahead of print]27(3):
      Like other organs, brain functions diminish with age. Furthermore, for a variety of neurological disorders-including Alzheimer's disease-age is one of the higher-risk factors. Since in many Western countries the average age is increasing, determining approaches for decreasing the effects of aging on brain function is taking on a new urgency. Neuroinflammation and oxidative stress are two convoluted key factors in brain aging and chronic neurodegenerative diseases. The diverseness of factors, causing an age-related decrease in brain functions, requires identifying small molecules that have multiple biological activities that can affect all these factors. One great source of these small molecules is related to polyphenolic flavonoids. Recently, 3,3',4',7-tetrahydroxyflavone (fisetin) has been reported as a potent senotherapeutic capable of extending lifespan by reducing peroxidation levels and enhancing antioxidant cell responses. The neuroprotective effects of fisetin have been shown in several in vitro and in vivo models of neurological disorders due to its actions on multiple pathways associated with different neurological disorders. The present work aims to collect the most recent achievements related to the antioxidant and neuroprotective effects of fisetin. Moreover, in silico pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and toxicity of fisetin are also comprehensively described along with emerging novel drug delivery strategies for the amelioration of this flavonol bioavailability and chemical stability.
    Keywords:  fisetin; in silico evaluation; neuroinflammation; neuroprotection; senescence; senolytic drug
  23. Cell Death Dis. 2022 02 15. 13(2): 155
      The methyltransferase Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2), composed of EZH2, SUZ12, and EED subunits, is associated with transcriptional repression via tri-methylation of histone H3 on lysine 27 residue (H3K27me3). PRC2 is a valid drug target, as the EZH2 gain-of-function mutations identified in patient samples drive tumorigenesis. PRC2 inhibitors have been discovered and demonstrated anti-cancer efficacy in clinic. However, their pharmacological mechanisms are poorly understood. MAK683 is a potent EED inhibitor in clinical development. Focusing on MAK683-sensitive tumors with SMARCB1 or ARID1A loss, we identified a group of PRC2 target genes with high H3K27me3 signal through epigenomic and transcriptomic analysis. Multiple senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) genes, such as GATA4, MMP2/10, ITGA2 and GBP1, are in this group besides previously identified CDKN2A/p16. Upon PRC2 inhibition, the de-repression of SASP genes is detected in multiple sensitive models and contributes to decreased Ki67+, extracellular matrix (ECM) reorganization, senescence associated inflammation and tumor regression even in CDKN2A/p16 knockout tumor. And the combination of PRC2 inhibitor and CDK4/6 inhibitor leads to better effect. The genes potential regulated by PRC2 in neuroblastoma samples exhibited significant enrichment of ECM and senescence associated inflammation, supporting the clinical relevance of our results. Altogether, our results unravel the pharmacological mechanism of PRC2 inhibitors and propose a combination strategy for MAK683 and other PRC2 drugs.
  24. Nanomaterials (Basel). 2022 Jan 21. pii: 345. [Epub ahead of print]12(3):
      Advances in medical care, improvements in sanitation, and rising living standards contribute to increased life expectancy. Although this reflects positive human development, it also poses new challenges. Among these, reproductive aging is gradually becoming a key health issue because the age of menopause has remained constant at ~50 years, leading women to live longer in suboptimal endocrine conditions. An adequate understanding of ovarian senescence mechanisms is essential to prevent age-related diseases and to promote wellbeing, health, and longevity in women. We here analyze the impact of aging on the ovarian extracellular matrix (ECM), and we demonstrate significant changes in its composition and organization with collagen, glycosaminoglycans, and laminins significantly incremented, and elastin, as well as fibronectin, decreased. This is accompanied by a dynamic response in gene expression levels of the main ECM- and protease-related genes, indicating a direct impact of aging on the transcription machinery. Furthermore, in order to study the mechanisms driving aging and identify possible strategies to counteract ovarian tissue degeneration, we here described the successful production of a 3D ECM-based biological scaffold that preserves the structural modifications taking place in vivo and that represents a powerful high predictive in vitro model for reproductive aging and its prevention.
    Keywords:  ECM-based bio-scaffold; extracellular matrix; porcine; reproductive aging; senescence; whole-ovary decellularization
  25. Aging Cell. 2022 Feb 16. e13558
      Age is a risk factor for numerous diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases, cancers, and diabetes. Loss of protein homeostasis is a central hallmark of aging. Activation of the endoplasmic reticulum unfolded protein response (UPRER ) includes changes in protein translation and membrane lipid synthesis. Using stable isotope labeling, a flux "signature" of the UPRER in vivo in mouse liver was developed by inducing ER stress with tunicamycin and measuring rates of both proteome-wide translation and de novo lipogenesis. Several changes in protein synthesis across ontologies were noted with age, including a more dramatic suppression of translation under ER stress in aged mice as compared with young mice. Binding immunoglobulin protein (BiP) synthesis rates and mRNA levels were increased more in aged than young mice. De novo lipogenesis rates decreased under ER stress conditions in aged mice, including both triglyceride and phospholipid fractions. In young mice, a significant reduction was seen only in the triglyceride fraction. These data indicate that aged mice have an exaggerated metabolic flux response to ER stress, which may indicate that aging renders the UPRER less effective in resolving proteotoxic stress.
    Keywords:  aging; de novo lipogenesis; endoplasmic reticulum; proteome dynamics; proteomics; unfolded protein response
  26. Aging (Albany NY). 2022 Feb 15. 14(undefined):
      Aging starts at the beginning of life as evidenced by high variability in telomere length (TL) and mitochondrial DNA content (mtDNAc) at birth. Whether p53 and PGC-1α are connected to these age-related markers in early life is unclear. In this study, we hypothesized that these hallmarks of aging are associated at birth. In 613 newborns from the ENVIRONAGE birth cohort, p53 and PGC-1α protein levels were measured in cord plasma, while TL and mtDNAc were measured in both cord blood and placental tissue. Cord blood methylation data of genes corresponding to the measured protein levels were available from the Human MethylationEPIC 850K BeadChip array. Pearson correlations and linear regression models were applied while accounting for selected covariates. In cord, a 10% increase in TL was associated with 5.22% (95% CI: 3.26 to 7.22; p < 0.0001) higher mtDNAc and -2.66% (95% CI: -5.04 to -0.23%; p = 0.032) lower p53 plasma level. In placenta, a 10% increase in TL was associated with 5.46% (95% CI: 3.82 to 7.13%; p < 0.0001) higher mtDNAc and -2.42% (95% CI: -4.29 to -0.52; p = 0.0098) lower p53 plasma level. Methylation level of TP53 was correlated with TL and mtDNAc in cord blood and with cord plasma p53 level. Our study suggests that p53 may be an important factor both at the protein and methylation level for the telomere-mitochondrial axis of aging at birth.
    Keywords:  PGC-1α; aging; mitochondrial DNA content; p53; telomere length
  27. Biotechniques. 2022 Feb 17.
      The major obstacle to the application of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) in regenerative medicine is the expansion of the donor-derived cells in vitro to obtain high cell numbers in the shortest possible time. However, MSCs gradually undergo replicative senescence after a variable number of divisions that reduce their therapeutic efficacy, which needs to be determined before administration. The authors developed a fast and simple evaluation assay testing two senescence inducers, mitoxantrone (Mxt) and trichostatin A (TSA), to predict the onset of spontaneous replicative senescence of adipose-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (ASCs) and have confirmed the correlation between induced senescence and spontaneous replicative senescence in the assay using Mxt. This protocol facilitates the standardization of therapeutic ASCs and MSCs from other origins before application.
    Keywords:  adipose mesenchymal stromal (stem) cells (ASCs); cell longevity; induced senescence; mesenchymal stromal (stem) cells (MSCs); mitoxantrone; replicative senescence; trichostatin A
  28. FASEB J. 2022 Mar;36(3): e22192
      Modulating the number of muscle stems cells, called satellite cells, during early postnatal development produces long-term effects on muscle growth. We tested the hypothesis that high expression levels of the anti-aging protein Klotho in early postnatal myogenesis increase satellite cell numbers by influencing the epigenetic regulation of genes that regulate myogenesis. Our findings show that elevated klotho expression caused a transient increase in satellite cell numbers and slowed muscle fiber growth, followed by a period of accelerated muscle growth that leads to larger fibers. Klotho also transcriptionally downregulated the H3K27 demethylase Jmjd3, leading to increased H3K27 methylation and decreased expression of genes in the canonical Wnt pathway, which was associated with a delay in muscle differentiation. In addition, Klotho stimulation and Jmjd3 downregulation produced similar but not additive reductions in the expression of Wnt4, Wnt9a, and Wnt10a in myogenic cells, indicating that inhibition occurred through a common pathway. Together, our results identify a novel pathway through which Klotho influences myogenesis by reducing the expression of Jmjd3, leading to reductions in the expression of Wnt genes and inhibition of canonical Wnt signaling.
    Keywords:  development; myogenesis; skeletal muscle
  29. Nat Commun. 2022 Feb 17. 13(1): 914
      Premature ovarian failure (POF) is a leading cause of women's infertility without effective treatment. Here we show that intravenous injection of Ab4B19, an agonistic antibody for the BDNF receptor TrkB, penetrates into ovarian follicles, activates TrkB signaling, and promotes ovary development. In both natural aging and cyclophosphamide-induced POF models, treatment with Ab4B19 completely reverses the reduction of pre-antral and antral follicles, and normalizes gonadal hormone. Ab4B19 also attenuates gonadotoxicity and inhibits apoptosis in cyclophosphamide-induced POF ovaries. Further, treatment with Ab4B19, but not BDNF, restores the number and quality of oocytes and enhances fertility. In human, BDNF levels are high in granulosa cells and TrkB levels increase in oocytes as they mature. Moreover, BDNF expression is down-regulated in follicles of aged women, and Ab4B19 activates TrkB signaling in human ovary tissue ex vivo. These results identify TrkB as a potential target for POF with differentiated mechanisms, and confirms superiority of TrkB activating antibody over BDNF as therapeutic agents.
  30. J Clin Invest. 2022 02 15. pii: e155885. [Epub ahead of print]132(4):
      Kidney function decreases with age and may soon limit millions of lives as the proportion of the population over 70 years of age increases. Glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) is involved with metabolism and may have a role in kidney senescence, positioning it as a target for complications from chronic kidney disease. However, different studies suggest GSK3 has contrasting effects. In this issue of the JCI, Fang et al. explored the function of GSK3β and the interplay with lithium using human tissue and mouse models. Notably, GSK3β was overexpressed and activated in aging mice, and depleting GSK3β reduced senescence and glomerular aging. In this Commentary, we explore the similarities and differences between Fang et al. and previous findings by Hurcombe et al. These findings should prompt further study of lithium and other GSK3β inhibitors as a means of extending glomerular function in individuals with chronic kidney disease.
  31. Redox Biol. 2022 Feb 09. pii: S2213-2317(22)00033-7. [Epub ahead of print]51 102261
      Retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) dysfunction and atrophy occur in dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), often leading to photoreceptor degeneration and vision loss. Accumulated oxidative stress during aging contributes to RPE dysfunction and degeneration. Here we show that the nuclear receptor REV-ERBα, a redox sensitive transcription factor, protects RPE from age-related degeneration and oxidative stress-induced damage. Genetic deficiency of REV-ERBα leads to accumulated oxidative stress, dysfunction and degeneration of RPE, and AMD-like ocular pathologies in aging mice. Loss of REV-ERBα exacerbates chemical-induced RPE damage, and pharmacological activation of REV-ERBα protects RPE from oxidative damage both in vivo and in vitro. REV-ERBα directly regulates transcription of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) and its downstream antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) and catalase to counter oxidative damage. Moreover, aged mice with RPE specific knockout of REV-ERBα also exhibit accumulated oxidative stress and fundus and RPE pathologies. Together, our results suggest that REV-ERBα is a novel intrinsic protector of the RPE against age-dependent oxidative stress and a new molecular target for developing potential therapies to treat age-related retinal degeneration.
    Keywords:  Age-related macular degeneration; Aging; NRF2; Oxidative damage; REV-ERBα; Retinal pigment epithelium
  32. J Inflamm Res. 2022 ;15 865-880
      Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a blinding eye disease, whose incidence strongly increases with ages. The etiology of AMD is complex, including aging, abnormal lipid metabolism, chronic inflammation and oxidative stress. Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) are essential for ocular structures and functions. This review summarizes the regulatory effects of LCPUFA on inflammation in AMD. LCPUFA are related to aging, autophagy and chronic inflammation. They are metabolized to pro- and anti-inflammatory metabolites by various enzymes. These metabolites stimulate inflammation in response to oxidative stress, causing innate and acquired immune responses. This review also discusses the possible clinical applications, which provided novel targets for the prevention and treatment of AMD and other age-related diseases.
    Keywords:  age-related macular degeneration; inflammation; long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids
  33. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jan 25. pii: 1323. [Epub ahead of print]23(3):
      Ageing is an unavoidable multi-factorial process, characterised by a gradual decrease in physiological functionality and increasing vulnerability of the organism to environmental factors and pathogens, ending, eventually, in death. One of the most elaborated ageing theories implies a direct connection between ROS-mediated mtDNA damage and mutations. In this review, we focus on the role of mitochondrial metabolism, mitochondria generated ROS, mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy in normal ageing and pathological conditions, such as inflammation. Also, a chronic form of inflammation, which could change the long-term status of the immune system in an age-dependent way, is discussed. Finally, the role of inflammaging in the most common neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, is also discussed.
    Keywords:  ageing; inflammaging; inflammation; mitophagy
  34. J Integr Neurosci. 2022 Jan 28. 21(1): 6
      Insulin is known to act in the central nervous system to regulate several physiological and behavioural outcomes, including energy balance, glucose homeostasis and cognitive functioning. However, the neuronal populations through which insulin enhances cognitive performance remain unidentified. Insulin receptors are found in neuropeptide-Y (NPY) expressing neurons, which are abundant in the hypothalamus and hippocampus; regions involved in feeding behaviour and spatial memory, respectively. Here we show that mice with a tissue specific knockout of insulin receptors in NPY expressing neurons (IRl⁢o⁢x/l⁢o⁢x; NPYC⁢r⁢e⁣/+) display an impaired performance in the probe trial of the Morris Water Maze compared with control mice at both the 6 and the 12, but not at the 24 months time point, consistent with a crucial role of insulin and NPY in cognitive functioning. By 24 months of age all groups demonstrated similar reductions in spatial memory performance. Together, these data suggest that the mechanisms through which insulin influences cognitive functioning are, at least in part, via insulin receptor signaling in NPY expressing neurons. These results also highlight that cognitive impairments observed in aging may be due to impaired insulin signaling.
    Keywords:  Hippocampus; Insulin receptors; Morris Water Maze; NPY; Spatial memory