Although death is inevitable, individuals have long sought to alter the course of the ageing process. Indeed, ageing has proved to be modifiable; by intervening in biological systems such as nutrient-sensing, cellular senescence, the systemic environment and the gut microbiome, phenotypes of ageing can be slowed sufficiently to mitigate age-related functional decline. These interventions can also delay the onset of many disabling, chronic diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurodegeneration in animal models.Here we examine the most promising chemical interventions to slow ageing, and group them into two tiers based on the robustness of the preclinical, and some clinical, results. We then focus on the potential of the interventions and the feasibility of conducting clinical trials with these chemicals, with the overall aim of maintaining health for longer before the end of life.
Aging is the largest risk factor for a variety of noncommunicable diseases. Model organism studies have shown that genetic and chemical perturbations can extend both lifespan and healthspan. Aging is a complex process, with parallel and interacting mechanisms contributing to its aetiology, posing a challenge for the discovery of new pharmacological candidates to ameliorate its effects. In this study, instead of a target‐centric approach, we adopt a systems level drug repurposing methodology to discover drugs that could combat aging in human brain. Using multiple gene expression data sets from brain tissue, taken from patients of different ages, we first identified the expression changes that characterize aging. Then, we compared these changes in gene expression with drug‐perturbed expression profiles in the Connectivity Map. We thus identified 24 drugs with significantly associated changes. Some of these drugs may function as antiaging drugs by reversing the detrimental changes that occur during aging, others by mimicking the cellular defence mechanisms. The drugs that we identified included significant number of already identified prolongevity drugs, indicating that the method can discover de novo drugs that meliorate aging. The approach has the advantages that using data from human brain aging data, it focuses on processes relevant in human aging and that it is unbiased, making it possible to discover new targets for aging studies.
In Escherichia coli, the oxidative branch of the pentose phosphate pathway (oxPPP) is one of the major sources of NADPH when glucose is the sole carbon nutrient. However, unbalanced NADPH production causes growth impairment as observed in a strain lacking phosphoglucoisomerase (Dpgi). In this work, we studied the metabolic response of this bacterium to the replacement of its glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH) by an NADH-producing variant. The homologous enzyme from Leuconostoc mesenteroides was studied by molecular dynamics and site-directed mutagenesis to obtain the NAD-preferring LmG6PDH R46E,Q47E . Through homologous recombination, the zwf loci (encoding G6PDH) in the chromosomes of WT and Dpgi E. coli strains were replaced by DNA encoding LmG6PDH R46E,Q47E . Contrary to some predictions performed with flux balance analysis, the replacements caused a substantial effect on the growth rates, increasing 59 % in the Dpgi strain, while falling 44 % in the WT. Quantitative PCR (qPCR) analysis of the zwf locus showed that the expression level of the mutant enzyme was similar to the native enzyme and the expression of genes encoding key enzymes of the central pathways also showed moderate changes among the studied strains. The phenotypic and qPCR data were integrated into in silico modelling, showing an operative G6PDH flux contributing to the NADH pool. Our results indicated that, in vivo, the generation of NADH by G6PDH is beneficial or disadvantageous for growth depending on the operation of the upper Embden-Meyerhof pathway. Interestingly, a genomic database search suggested that in bacteria lacking phosphofructokinase, the G6PDHs tend to have similar preferences for NAD and NADP. The importance of the generation of NADPH in a pathway such as the oxPPP is discussed.
Advancing age is the dominant risk factor for most of the major killer diseases in developed countries. Hence, ameliorating the effects of ageing may prevent multiple diseases simultaneously. Drugs licensed for human use against specific diseases have proved to be effective in extending lifespan and healthspan in animal models, suggesting that there is scope for drug repurposing in humans. New bioinformatic methods to identify and prioritise potential anti-ageing compounds for humans are therefore of interest. In this study, we first used drug-protein interaction information, to rank 1,147 drugs by their likelihood of targeting ageing-related gene products in humans. Among 19 statistically significant drugs, 6 have already been shown to have pro-longevity properties in animal models (p < 0.001). Using the targets of each drug, we established their association with ageing at multiple levels of biological action including pathways, functions and protein interactions. Finally, combining all the data, we calculated a ranked list of drugs that identified tanespimycin, an inhibitor of HSP-90, as the top-ranked novel anti-ageing candidate. We experimentally validated the pro-longevity effect of tanespimycin through its HSP-90 target in Caenorhabditis elegans.
Age is a common risk factor in many diseases, but the molecular basis for this relationship is elusive. In this study we identified 4 disease clusters from 116 diseases in the UK Biobank data, defined by their age-of-onset profiles, and found that diseases with the same onset profile are genetically more similar, suggesting a common etiology. This similarity was not explained by disease categories, co-occurrences or disease cause-effect relationships. Two of the four disease clusters had an increased risk of occurrence from age 20 and 40 years respectively. They both showed an association with known aging-related genes, yet differed in functional enrichment and evolutionary profiles. Moreover, they both had age-related expression and methylation changes. We also tested mutation accumulation and antagonistic pleiotropy theories of aging and found support for both.
Increasing human life expectancy has posed increasing challenges for healthcare systems. As people age, they become more susceptible to chronic diseases, with an increasing burden of multimorbidity, and the associated polypharmacy. Accumulating evidence from work with laboratory animals has shown that ageing is a malleable process that can be ameliorated by genetic and environmental interventions. Drugs that modulate the ageing process may delay or even prevent the incidence of multiple diseases of ageing. To identify novel, anti-ageing drugs, several studies have developed computational drug-repurposing strategies. We review published studies showing the potential of current drugs to modulate ageing. Future studies should integrate current knowledge with multi-omics, health records, and drug safety data to predict drugs that can improve health in late life.
Glucose 6-Phosphate Dehydrogenases (G6PDHs) from different sources show varying specificities towards NAD+ and NADP+ as cofactors. However, it is not known to what extent structural determinants of cofactor preference are conserved in the G6PDH family. In this work, molecular simulations, kinetic characterization of site-directed mutants and phylogenetic analyses were used to study the structural basis for the strong preference towards NADP+ shown by the G6PDH from Escherichia coli. Molecular Dynamics trajectories of homology models showed a highly favorable binding energy for residues K18 and R50 when interacting with the 2'-phosphate of NADP+, but the same residues formed no observable interactions in the case of NAD+. Alanine mutants of both residues were kinetically characterized and analyzed with respect to the binding energy of the transition state, according to the kcat/KM value determined for each cofactor. Whereas both residues contribute to the binding energy of NADP+, only R50 makes a contribution (about -1 kcal/mol) to NAD+ binding. In the absence of both positive charges the enzyme was unable to discriminate NADP+ from NAD+. Although kinetic data is sparse, the observed distribution of cofactor preferences within the phylogenetic tree is sufficient to rule out the possibility that the known NADP+-specific G6PDHs form a monophyletic group. While the β1-α1 loop shows no strict conservation of K18, (rather, S and T seem to be more frequent), in the case of the β2-α2 loop, different degrees of conservation are observed for R50. Noteworthy is the fact that a K18T mutant is indistinguishable from K18A in terms of cofactor preference. We conclude that the structural determinants for the strict discrimination against NAD+ in the case of the NADP+-specific enzymes have evolved independently through different means during the evolution of the G6PDH family. We further suggest that other regions in the cofactor binding pocket, besides the β1-α1 and β2-α2 loops, play a role in determining cofactor preference.
At first glance, longevity and immunity appear to be different traits that have not much in common except the fact that the immune system promotes survival upon pathogenic infection. Substantial evidence however points to a molecularly intertwined relationship between the immune system and ageing. Although this link is well-known throughout the animal kingdom, its genetic basis is complex and still poorly understood. To address this question, we here provide a compilation of all genes concomitantly known to be involved in immunity and ageing in humans and three well-studied model organisms, the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, and the house mouse Mus musculus. By analysing human orthologs among these species, we identified 7 evolutionarily conserved signalling cascades, the insulin/TOR network, three MAPK (ERK, p38, JNK), JAK/STAT, TGF-β, and Nf-κB pathways that act pleiotropically on ageing and immunity. We review current evidence for these pathways linking immunity and lifespan, and their role in the detrimental dysregulation of the immune system with age, known as immunosenescence. We argue that the phenotypic effects of these pathways are often context-dependent and vary, for example, between tissues, sexes, and types of pathogenic infection. Future research therefore needs to explore a higher temporal, spatial and environmental resolution to fully comprehend the connection between ageing and immunity.
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