Senescence phenotypes and mitochondrial dysfunction are implicated in aging and in premature aging diseases, including ataxia telangiectasia (A‐T). Loss of mitochondrial function can drive age‐related decline in the brain, but little is known about whether improving mitochondrial homeostasis alleviates senescence phenotypes. We demonstrate here that mitochondrial dysfunction and cellular senescence with a senescence‐associated secretory phenotype (SASP) occur in A‐T patient fibroblasts, and in ATM‐deficient cells and mice. Senescence is mediated by stimulator of interferon genes (STING) and involves ectopic cytoplasmic DNA. We further show that boosting intracellular NAD+ levels with nicotinamide riboside (NR) prevents senescence and SASP by promoting mitophagy in a PINK1‐dependent manner. NR treatment also prevents neurodegeneration, suppresses senescence and neuroinflammation, and improves motor function in Atm−/− mice. Our findings suggest a central role for mitochondrial dysfunction‐induced senescence in A‐T pathogenesis, and that enhancing mitophagy as a potential therapeutic intervention.
Critically ill patients are commonly treated with high levels of oxygen, hyperoxia, for prolonged periods of time. Unfortunately, extended exposure to hyperoxia can exacerbate respiratory failure and lead to a high mortality rate. Mitochondrial A-kinase anchoring protein (Akap) has been shown to regulate mitochondrial function. It has been reported that, under hypoxic conditions, Akap121 undergoes proteolytic degradation and promotes cardiac injury. However, the role of Akap1 in hyperoxia-induced acute lung injury (ALI) is largely unknown. To address this gap in our understanding of Akap1, we exposed wild-type ( wt) and Akap1 mice to 100% oxygen for 48 h, a time point associated with lung damage in the murine model of ALI. We found that under hyperoxia, Akap1 mice display increased levels of proinflammatory cytokines, immune cell infiltration, and protein leakage in lungs, as well as increased alveolar capillary permeability compared with wt controls. Further analysis revealed that Akap1 deletion enhances lung NF-κB p65 activity as assessed by immunoblotting and DNA-binding assay and mitochondrial autophagy-related markers, PINK1 and Parkin. Ultrastructural analysis using electron microscopy revealed that Akap1 deletion was associated with remarkably aberrant mitochondria and lamellar bodies in type II alveolar epithelial cells. Taken together, these results demonstrate that Akap1 genetic deletion increases the severity of hyperoxia-induced acute lung injury in mice.
Soluble angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (sACE2) could be a therapeutic option to treat coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) utilizes ACE2 receptors on cell surfaces to gain intracellular entry making them an ideal target for therapy. High-affinity variants of sACE2, engineered using high-throughput mutagenesis, are capable of neutralizing COVID-19 infection as decoy receptors. These variants compete with native ACE2 present on cells by binding with spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV2, making native ACE2 on cell surfaces available to convert angiotensin-II to angiotensin-1,7, thus alleviating the exaggerated inflammatory response associated with COVID-19 infection. This article explores the use of sACE2 as potential therapy for COVID-19 infection.
In 1960, Rita Levi-Montalcini and Barbara Booker made an observation that transformed neuroscience: as neurons mature, they become apoptosis resistant. The following year Leonard Hayflick and Paul Moorhead described a stable replicative arrest of cells in vitro, termed “senescence”. For nearly 60 years, the cell biology fields of neuroscience and senescence ran in parallel, each separately defining phenotypes and uncovering molecular mediators to explain the 1960s observations of their founding mothers and fathers, respectively. During this time neuroscientists have consistently observed the remarkable ability of neurons to survive. Despite residing in environments of chronic inflammation and degeneration, as occurs in numerous neurodegenerative diseases, often times the neurons with highest levels of pathology resist death. Similarly, cellular senescence (hereon referred to simply as “senescence”) now is recognized as a complex stress response that culminates with a change in cell fate. Instead of reacting to cellular/DNA damage by proliferation or apoptosis, senescent cells survive in a stable cell cycle arrest. Senescent cells simultaneously contribute to chronic tissue degeneration by secreting deleterious molecules that negatively impact surrounding cells. These fields have finally collided. Neuroscientists have begun applying concepts of senescence to the brain, including post-mitotic cells. This initially presented conceptual challenges to senescence cell biologists. Nonetheless, efforts to understand senescence in the context of brain aging and neurodegenerative disease and injury emerged and are advancing the field. The present review uses pre-defined criteria to evaluate evidence for post-mitotic brain cell senescence. A closer interaction between neuro and senescent cell biologists has potential to advance both disciplines and explain fundamental questions that have plagued their fields for decades.
Cellular stress responses influence cell fate decisions. Apoptosis and proliferation represent opposing reactions to cellular stress or damage and may influence distinct health outcomes. Clinical and epidemiological studies consistently report inverse comorbidities between age-associated neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. This review discusses how one particular stress response, cellular senescence, may contribute to this inverse correlation. In mitotically competent cells, senescence is favorable over uncontrolled proliferation, i.e., cancer. However, senescent cells notoriously secrete deleterious molecules that drive disease, dysfunction and degeneration in surrounding tissue. In recent years, senescent cells have emerged as unexpected mediators of neurodegenerative diseases. The present review uses pre-defined criteria to evaluate evidence of cellular senescence in mitotically competent brain cells, highlights the discovery of novel molecular regulators and discusses how this single cell fate decision impacts cancer and degeneration in the brain. We also underscore methodological considerations required to appropriately evaluate the cellular senescence stress response in the brain.
Acute lung injury (ALI), a milder form of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), is a leading cause of mortality in older adults with an increasing prevalence. Oxygen therapy, is a common treatment for ALI, involving exposure to a high concentration of oxygen. Unfortunately, hyperoxia induces the formation of reactive oxygen species which can cause an increase in 4-HNE (4-hydroxy 2 nonenal), a toxic byproduct of lipid peroxidation. Mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) serves as an endogenous shield against oxidative stress-mediated damage by clearing 4-HNE. Alda-1 [(N-(1, 3 benzodioxol-5-ylmethyl)-2, 6- dichloro-benzamide)], a small molecular activator of ALDH2, protects against reactive oxygen species-mediated oxidative stress by promoting ALDH2 activity. As a result, Alda-1 shields against ischemic reperfusion injury, heart failure, stroke, and myocardial infarction. However, the mechanisms of Alda-1 in hyperoxia-induced ALI remains unclear. C57BL/6 mice implanted with Alzet pumps received Alda-1 in a sustained fashion while being exposed to hyperoxia for 48 h. The mice displayed suppressed immune cell infiltration, decreased protein leakage and alveolar permeability compared to controls. Mechanistic analysis shows that mice pretreated with Alda-1 also experience decreased oxidative stress and enhanced levels of p-Akt and mTOR pathway associated proteins. These results show that continuous delivery of Alda-1 protects against hyperoxia-induced lung injury in mice.
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