A Look Back at Aging Research in 2009

Researcher Steven Austad lists the advances made by the mainstream of aging research last year: "Among the notable trends seen in this year's highlights in mammalian aging research is an awakening of interest in the assessment of age-related measures of mouse health in addition to the traditional focus on longevity. One finding of note is that overexpression of telomerase extended life and improved several indices of health in mice that had previously been genetically rendered cancer-resistant. In another study, resveratrol supplementation led to amelioration of several degenerative conditions without affecting mouse lifespan. A primate dietary restriction (DR) study found that restriction led to major improvements in glucoregulatory status along with provocative but less striking effects on survival. Visceral fat removal in rats improved their survival although not as dramatically as DR. An unexpected result showing the power of genetic background effects was that DR shortened the lifespan of long-lived mice bearing Prop1(df) whereas a previous report in a different background had found DR to extend the lifespan of Prop1(df) mice. Treatment with the mTOR inhibitor, rapamycin, enhanced the survival of even elderly mice and improved their vaccine response. Genetic inhibition of a TOR target made female, but not male, mice live longer. This year saw the mTOR network firmly established as a major modulator of mammalian lifespan."

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20331443

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