Uncoupling lifespan and healthspan in Caenorhabditis elegans longevity mutants.
ABSTRACT: Aging research has been very successful at identifying signaling pathways and evolutionarily conserved genes that extend lifespan with the assumption that an increase in lifespan will also increase healthspan. However, it is largely unknown whether we are extending the healthy time of life or simply prolonging a period of frailty with increased incidence of age-associated diseases. Here we use Caenorhabditis elegans, one of the premiere systems for lifespan studies, to determine whether lifespan and healthspan are intrinsically correlated. We conducted multiple cellular and organismal assays on wild type as well as four long-lived mutants (insulin/insulin-like growth factor-1, dietary restriction, protein translation, mitochondrial signaling) in a longitudinal manner to determine the health of the animals as they age. We find that some long-lived mutants performed better than wild type when measured chronologically (number of days). However, all long-lived mutants increased the proportion of time spent in a frail state. Together, these data suggest that lifespan can no longer be the sole parameter of interest and reveal the importance of evaluating multiple healthspan parameters for future studies on antiaging interventions.
Project description:Aging/senescence includes not just decline in lifespan but also etiologies of age associated morbidities which are inadequately understood. Extensive research has been undertaken to delineate the pathways and generate mutants with extended lifespan. However, little is known about the health status of these long lived mutants in the background of important genetic perturbations. Caenorhabditis elegans is one of the leading in vivo model organisms to study aging. Deletion of SIN-3, a transcription coregulator in C. elegans has been shown to reduce the lifespan of the mutant worms by half as compared to the wild-type and isogenic controls. The current study focuses on the effect of SIN-3 deletion on the healthspan of the worms. We find that not only are sin-3 mutants more susceptible to stress, but the overall stress intolerance and physiological decline is sex dependent. The severity of the phenotype is more pronounced in hermaphrodites as compared to the males carrying the same mutation with respect to the controls. The results further suggest that genetic perturbation along with the gender play an important role in determining the lifespan, healthspan and overall fitness of an organism.
Project description:Research in aging biology has identified several pathways that are molecularly conserved across species that extend lifespan when mutated. The insulin/insulin-like signaling (IIS) pathway is one of the most widely studied of these. It has been assumed that extending lifespan also extends healthspan (the period of life with minimal functional loss). However, data supporting this assumption conflict and recent evidence suggest that life extension may, in and of itself, extend the frail period. In this study, we use Caenorhabditis elegans to further probe the link between lifespan and healthspan. Using movement decline as a measure of health, we assessed healthspan across the entire lifespan in nine IIS pathway mutants. In one series of experiments, we studied healthspan in mass cultures, and in another series, we studied individuals longitudinally. We found that long-lived mutants display prolonged mid-life movement and do not prolong the frailty period. Lastly, we observed that early-adulthood movement was not predictive of late-life movement or survival, within identical phenotypes. Overall, these observations show that extending lifespan does not prolong the period of frailty. Both genotype and a stochastic component modulate aging, and movement late in life is more variable than early-life movement.
Project description:Over the past decade, a large number of discoveries have shown that interventions (genetic, pharmacological, and nutritional) increase the lifespan of invertebrates and laboratory rodents. Therefore, the possibility of developing antiaging interventions for humans has gone from a dream to a reality. However, it has also become apparent that we need more information than just lifespan to evaluate the translational potential of any proposed antiaging intervention to humans. Information is needed on how an intervention alters the "healthspan" of an animal, that is, how the physiological functions that change with age are altered. In this report, we describe the utility and the limitations of assays in mice currently available for measuring a wide range of physiological functions that potentially impact quality of life. We encourage investigators and reviewers alike to expect at minimum an overall assessment of health in several domains across several ages before an intervention is labeled as "increasing healthspan." In addition, it is important that investigators indicate any tests in which the treated group did worse or did not differ statistically from controls because overall health is a complex phenotype, and no intervention discovered to date improves every aspect of health. Finally, we strongly recommend that functional measurements be performed in both males and females so that sex differences in the rate of functional decline in different domains are taken into consideration.
Project description:Metformin is a drug commonly prescribed to treat patients with type 2 diabetes. Here we show that long-term treatment with metformin (0.1% w/w in diet) starting at middle age extends healthspan and lifespan in male mice, while a higher dose (1% w/w) was toxic. Treatment with metformin mimics some of the benefits of calorie restriction, such as improved physical performance, increased insulin sensitivity, and reduced low-density lipoprotein and cholesterol levels without a decrease in caloric intake. At a molecular level, metformin increases AMP-activated protein kinase activity and increases antioxidant protection, resulting in reductions in both oxidative damage accumulation and chronic inflammation. Our results indicate that these actions may contribute to the beneficial effects of metformin on healthspan and lifespan. These findings are in agreement with current epidemiological data and raise the possibility of metformin-based interventions to promote healthy aging.
Project description:Two people with the same lifespan do not necessarily have the same healthspan. One person may retain locomotor and cognitive abilities until the end of life, while another person may lose them during adulthood. Unbiased searches for genes that are required to maintain locomotor ability during adulthood may uncover key regulators of locomotor healthspan. Here, we take advantage of the relatively short lifespan of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and develop a novel screening procedure to collect mutants with locomotor deficits that become apparent in adulthood. After ethyl methanesulfonate mutagenesis, we isolated five C. elegans mutant strains that progressively lose adult locomotor ability. In one of the mutant strains, a nonsense mutation in elpc-2, which encodes Elongator Complex Protein Component 2, causes a progressive decline in locomotor ability during adulthood. Mutants and mutations identified in the present screen may provide insights into mechanisms of age-related locomotor impairment and the maintenance of locomotor healthspan.
Project description:Effective network analysis of protein data requires high-quality proteomic datasets. Here, we report a near doubling in coverage of the C. elegans adult proteome, identifying >11,000 proteins in total with ?9,400 proteins reproducibly detected in three biological replicates. Using quantitative mass spectrometry, we identify proteins whose abundances vary with age, revealing a concerted downregulation of proteins involved in specific metabolic pathways and upregulation of cellular stress responses with advancing age. Among these are ?30 peroxisomal proteins, including the PRX-5/PEX5 import protein. Functional experiments confirm that protein import into the peroxisome is compromised in vivo in old animals. We also studied the behavior of the set of age-variant proteins in chronologically age-matched, long-lived daf-2 insulin/IGF-1-pathway mutants. Unexpectedly, the levels of many of these age-variant proteins did not scale with extended lifespan. This indicates that, despite their youthful appearance and extended lifespans, not all aspects of aging are reset in these long-lived mutants.
Project description:Metformin, a biguanide drug commonly used to treat type-2 diabetes, has been noted to extend healthspan of nondiabetic mice, but this outcome, and the molecular mechanisms that underlie it, have received relatively little experimental attention. To develop a genetic model for study of biguanide effects on healthspan, we investigated metformin impact on aging Caenorhabditis elegans. We found that metformin increases nematode healthspan, slowing lipofuscin accumulation, extending median lifespan, and prolonging youthful locomotory ability in a dose-dependent manner. Genetic data suggest that metformin acts through a mechanism similar to that operative in eating-impaired dietary restriction (DR) mutants, but independent of the insulin signaling pathway. Energy sensor AMPK and AMPK-activating kinase LKB1, which are activated in mammals by metformin treatment, are essential for health benefits in C. elegans, suggesting that metformin engages a metabolic loop conserved across phyla. We also show that the conserved oxidative stress-responsive transcription factor SKN-1/Nrf2 is essential for metformin healthspan benefits in C. elegans, a mechanistic requirement not previously described in mammals. skn-1, which functions in nematode sensory neurons to promote DR longevity benefits and in intestines for oxidative stress resistance lifespan benefits, must be expressed in both neurons and intestines for metformin-promoted healthspan extension, supporting that metformin improves healthy middle-life aging by activating both DR and antioxidant defense longevity pathways. In addition to defining molecular players operative in metformin healthspan benefits, our data suggest that metformin may be a plausible pharmacological intervention to promote healthy human aging.
Project description:Phosphatidylcholine is one of the major phospholipids comprising cellular membrane and is known to have several health-promoting activities, including the improvement of brain function and liver repair. In this paper, we examine the in vivo effect of dietary supplementation with phosphatidylcholine on the response to environmental stressors and aging in C. elegans. Treatment with phosphatidylcholine significantly increased the survival of worms under oxidative stress conditions. However, there was no significant difference in response to stresses caused by heat shock or ultraviolet irradiation. Oxidative stress is believed to be one of the major causal factors of aging. Then, we examined the effect of phosphatidylcholine on lifespan and age-related physiological changes. Phosphatidylcholine showed a lifespan-extending effect and a reduction in fertility, possibly as a tradeoff for long lifespan. Age-related decline of motility was also significantly delayed by supplementation with phosphatidylcholine. Interestingly, the expressions of well-known longevity-assuring genes, hsp-16.2 and sod-3, were significantly upregulated by dietary intervention with phosphatidylcholine. DAF-16, a transcription factor modulating stress response genes, was accumulated in the nucleus by phosphatidylcholine treatment. Increase of the ROS level with phosphatidylcholine suggests that the antioxidant and lifespan-extending effects are due to the hormetic effect of phosphatidylcholine. Phosphatidylcholine also showed a protective effect against amyloid beta-induced toxicity in Alzheimer's disease model animals. Experiments with long-lived mutants revealed that the lifespan-extending effect of phosphatidylcholine specifically overlapped with that of reduced insulin/IGF-1-like signaling and required DAF-16. These findings showed the antioxidant and antiaging activities of phosphatidylcholine for the first time in vivo. Further studies focusing on the identification of underlying cellular mechanisms involved in the antiaging effect will increase the possibility of using phosphatidylcholine for the development of antiaging therapeutics.
Project description:Ageing is marked by physical decline. Caenorhabditis elegans is a valuable model for identifying genetic regulatory mechanisms of ageing and longevity. Here we report a simple method to assess C. elegans' maximum physical ability based on the worms' maximum movement velocity. We show maximum velocity declines with age, correlates well with longevity, accurately reports movement ability and, if measured in mid-adulthood, is predictive of maximal lifespan. Contrary to recent findings, we observe that maximum velocity of worm with mutations in daf-2(e1370) insulin/IGF-1 signalling scales with lifespan. Because of increased odorant receptor expression, daf-2(e1370) mutants prefer food over exploration, causing previous on-food motility assays to underestimate movement ability and, thus, worm health. Finally, a disease-burden analysis of published data reveals that the daf-2(e1370) mutation improves quality of life, and therefore combines lifespan extension with various signs of an increased healthspan.
Project description:Carnosol, a phenolic diterpene, is one of the main constituents of Rosmarinus. It is known to possess a range of bioactivities, including antioxidant, anticancer, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Nevertheless, the antiaging effects of carnosol have received little attention. This study first indicated that carnosol increased the healthspan of Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans). First, compared with the control condition, carnosol treatment effectively decreased ROS accumulation under normal or oxidative stress condition, significantly increased several key antioxidant enzyme activities, and significantly decreased MDA content. Second, carnosol effectively prolonged lifespan under normal and stress conditions and slowed aging-related declines, including mobility, age pigmentation, and neurodegenerative disease, but had no effect on fertility and fat deposition. Finally, carnosol-mediated longevity required the upregulated expression of sod-3, sod-5, hsf-1, hsp-16.1, and hsp-16.2 and was dependent on the hsf-1 gene. Increased DAF-16 translocation was observed, but daf-16 was independent of the effects on lifespan induced by carnosol. These results suggested that carnosol might serve as a good source of natural antioxidants, and in particular, carnosol could be explored as a potential dietary supplement to slow aging.