Arguing a Role for the Hypothalamus in Aging

Researchers here analyze the proteome of the hypothalamus and argue for an important role in coordinating bodily responses to ongoing changes caused by aging: "The aging process affects every tissue in the body and represents one of the most complicated and highly integrated inevitable physiological entities. The maintenance of good health during the aging process likely relies upon the coherent regulation of hormonal and neuronal communication between the central nervous system and the periphery. Evidence has demonstrated that the optimal regulation of energy usage in both these systems facilitates healthy aging. However, the proteomic effects of aging in regions of the brain vital for integrating energy balance and neuronal activity are not well understood. The hypothalamus is one of the main structures in the body responsible for sustaining an efficient interaction between energy balance and neurological activity. Therefore, a greater understanding of the effects of aging in the hypothalamus may reveal important aspects of overall organismal aging and may potentially reveal the most crucial protein factors supporting this vital signaling integration. In this study, we examined alterations in protein expression in the hypothalami of young, middle-aged, and old rats. ... Based upon our rigorous analyses, we show that endogenous physiological responses to aging may be strongly orchestrated by the expression level of the GIT2 protein. The relevance of the hypothalamic expression level of this protein to the aging process in both neuronal and energy-controlling tissues reinforces the importance of this organ in the potential future development of targeted pharmacotherapeutics designed to interdict a multitude of age-related disorders."

Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0036975

Comments

From my reading of the literature, it appears that the hypothalamus plays a central role in energy intake, satiation, maturation and, probably, aging.

It would be interesting to know if extracts from an old animal's hypothalamus accelerates aging in young animals.

Posted by: Lou Pagnucco at May 16th, 2012 8:55 AM

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