We investigated the influences of short-term and lifespan-prolonging long-term caloric restriction (LCR) on gene expression in white adipose tissue (WAT). Over 11,000 genes were examined using high-density oligonucleotide microarrays in four groups of 10- to 11-month-old male C57Bl6 mice that were either fasted for 18 h before death (F), subjected to short-term caloric restriction for 23 days (SCR), or LCR for 9 months and compared with nonfasted control (CO) mice. Only a few transcripts of F and SCR were differentially expressed compared with CO mice. In contrast, 345 transcripts of 6,266 genes found to be expressed in WAT were altered significantly by LCR. The expression of several genes encoding proteins involved in energy metabolism was increased by LCR. Further, many of the shifts in gene expression after LCR are known to occur during adipocyte differentiation. Selected LCR-associated alterations of gene expression were supported by quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, histology, and histochemical examinations. Our data provide new insights on the metabolic state associated with aging retardation by LCR.
Although many hypotheses have been proposed to explain the aging process, the exact mechanisms are not well defined. Recent accumulating evidence indicates that dysregulation of the apoptotic process may be involved in some aging processes; however, it is still debatable how exactly apoptosis is expressed during aging in vivo. In this review, we discuss recent findings related to apoptosis of individual organs during aging and their significance. We demonstrate that aging enhances apoptosis and susceptibility to apoptosis in several types of intact cells. In contrast, in certain genetically damaged, initiated, and preneoplastic cells, aging suppresses these age-associated apoptotic changes. In various cells, apoptosis enhances the elimination of damaged and dysfunctional cells presumably caused by oxidative stress, glycation, and DNA damage. In these cases, the incidence of apoptosis correlates with the level of accumulated injury. It is concluded that apoptosis plays an important role in the aging process and tumorigenesis in vivo probably as an inherent protective mechanism against age-associated tumorigenesis.
Dysfunction of autophagy, which regulates cellular homeostasis by degrading organelles and proteins, is associated with pathogenesis of various diseases such as cancer, neurodegeneration and metabolic disease. Trehalose, a naturally occurring nontoxic disaccharide found in plants, insects, microorganisms and invertebrates, but not in mammals, was reported to function as a mechanistic target of the rapamycin (mTOR)-independent inducer of autophagy. In addition, trehalose functions as an antioxidant though its underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear. In this study, we showed that trehalose not only promoted autophagy, but also increased p62 protein expression, in an autophagy-independent manner. In addition, trehalose increased nuclear translocation of nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2) in a p62-dependent manner and enhance expression of its downstream antioxidant factors, heme oxygenase-1 (Ho-1) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate quinone dehydrogenase 1 (Nqo1). Moreover, treatment with trehalose significantly reduced amount of reactive oxygen species. Collectively, these results suggested that trehalose can function as a novel activator of the p62–Keap1/Nrf2 pathway, in addition to inducing autophagy. Therefore, trehalose may be useful to treat many chronic diseases involving oxidative stress and dysfunction of autophagy.
Using high-density oligonucleotide microarrays, we examined the actions of energy restriction (ER) on the expression of >11,000 genes in epididymal white adipose tissue (WAT) of 10- to 11-mo-old male C57Bl6 mice. Four groups were studied: controls not subjected to food restriction (CO), food-restricted 18 h before being killed (FR), short-term ER for 23 d (SER), and long-term ER for 9 mo (LER). As we reported previously, compared with CO mice, FR and SER minimally influenced the gene expression profiles; however, 345 transcripts of 6,266 genes determined to be expressed in WAT were significantly altered by LER. We focus here on the 109 (31%) of these genes that were involved in either inflammation (56 genes), cytoskeleton (16 genes), extracellular matrix (23 genes), or angiogenesis (14 genes). Among these 109 genes, 104 transcripts (95%) were down regulated by LER. Western blotting for heat shock protein 47 and osteonectin, and immunohistochemical staining for hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1alpha), supported the microarray data that LER down regulated the expressions of these genes. Additionally, a 75% reduction in adipocyte size with LER reflected the change in the expression of genes involved in cell morphology. Our findings provide evidence that LER suppresses the expression of genes encoding inflammatory molecules in WAT while promoting structural remodeling of the cytoskeleton, extracellular matrix, and vasculature. These alterations may play an important role in the protection against WAT-derived inflammation and in lifespan extension by LER.
In C. elegans, insulin-like hormone signal pathway plays a significant role in longevity. In particular, daf-16 gene product is indispensable factor for this lifespan-extension. This signal pathway is critical for dauer formation, which is a similar state to hibernation in mammals. We examined the expression level of mammalian daf-16 homologues, Foxo 1,3, and 4 (FKHR, FKHRL1, and AFX) mRNAs in the rat skeletal muscles during aging and in 30% caloric restricted of ad libitum fed. The expression level of AFX mRNA was significantly higher at 6 and 12 months than at 3 and 26 months, and FKHRL1 expression was significantly higher at 6 months than at 3 and 26 months but FKHR expression showed no significant change with age. We observed a characteristic expression of AFX and FKHR mRNAs to be significantly higher in the second day in caloric restriction by every-other-day feeding than in ad libitum fed. This suggests that caloric restriction may increase the expression of FKHR-family genes and prevent the aging process in the skeletal muscles.
A reduced growth hormone (GH)-insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 axis is associated with an extension of lifespan in laboratory rodents. Several phenotypes of such animal models resemble those induced by caloric restriction (CR). Using a transgenic male Wistar rat model whose GH-IGF-1 axis was moderately suppressed by overexpression of the antisense GH transgene (tg), we elucidated a relationship between the effects of a reduced GH-IGF-1 axis and CR for some biomarkers of aging, lifespan, and pathologies. Heterozygous (tg/-) rats fed ad libitum (AL) had a dwarf phenotype similar to that of control nontransgenic (-/-) rats subjected to 30% CR from 6 wk of age. Both the reduced GH-IGF-1 axis and CR extended lifespan to a similar extent, although the effect of CR seemed to be greater. There was an additive effect of CR to lifespan extension when tg/- rats were subjected to CR. Pathologic analyses indicated that the preventive effect of CR on selected diseases was greater than that of the reduced GH-IGF-1 axis. The present study suggests that CR affects aging and longevity by mechanisms other than suppression of the GH-IGF-1 axis, although CR might exhibit its effects partly through the reduced GH-IGF-1 axis.
The longer life span in dwarf mice suggests that a reduction in the growth hormone (GH)-insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 axis retards aging and extends the life span in mammals. We tested this hypothesis in a transgenic strain of rats whose GH gene was suppressed by an anti-sense GH transgene. Male rats homozygous for the transgene (tg/tg) had a reduced number of pituitary GH cells, a lower plasma concentration of IGF-1, and a dwarf phenotype. Heterozygous rats (tg/-) had an intermediate phenotype in plasma IGF-1, food intake, and body weight between tg/tg and control (-/-) rats. The life span of tg/tg rats was 5 to 10% shorter than -/- rats. In contrast, the life span of tg/- rats was 7 to 10% longer than -/- rats. Pathological analysis suggested that neoplasms caused earlier death in tg/tg rats; in contrast, tg/- rats had reduced nonneoplastic diseases and a prolonged life span. Immunological analysis revealed a smaller population and lower activity of splenic natural killer cells in tg/tg rats. The results of the present study support the hypothesis, but suggest that there is an optimal level of the GH-IGF-1 axis to maximize survival in mammals.
Whether obesity accelerates or suppresses autophagy in adipose tissue is still debatable. To clarify dysregulation of autophagy and its role in pathologies of obese adipose tissue, we focused on lysosomal function, protease maturation and activity, both in vivo and in vitro. First, we showed that autophagosome formation was accelerated, but autophagic clearance was impaired in obese adipose tissue. We also found protein and activity levels of CTSL (cathepsin L) were suppressed in obese adipose tissue, while the activity of CTSB (cathepsin B) was significantly enhanced. Moreover, cellular senescence and inflammasomes were activated in obese adipose tissue. In 3T3L1 adipocytes, downregulation of CTSL deteriorated autophagic clearance, upregulated expression of CTSB, promoted cellular senescence and activated inflammasomes. Upregulation of CTSB promoted additional activation of inflammasomes. Therefore, we suggest lysosomal dysfunction observed in obese adipose tissue leads to lower autophagic clearance, resulting in autophagosome accumulation. Simultaneously, lysosomal abnormalities, including deteriorated CTSL function and compensatory activation of CTSB, caused cellular senescence and inflammasome activation. Our findings strongly suggest lysosomal dysfunction is involved in early pathologies of obese adipose tissue.
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