Assessing mTOR Signaling in Human Aging

The target of rapamycin (TOR) gene is widely studied by researchers working on the mechanisms of aging and enhanced longevity provided by calorie restriction. Here a team pull in more data from human populations: "Interventions which inhibit TOR activity (including rapamycin and caloric restriction) lead to downstream gene expression changes and increased lifespan in laboratory models. However, the role of mTOR signaling in human aging is unclear. We tested the expression of mTOR-related transcripts in two independent study cohorts; the InCHIANTI population study of aging and the San Antonio Family Heart Study (SAFHS). ... 8 genes were robustly associated with age in both cohorts. Genes involved in insulin signaling (PTEN, PI3K, PDK1), ribosomal biogenesis (S6K), lipid metabolism (SREBF1), cellular apoptosis (SGK1), angiogenesis (VEGFB), insulin production and sensitivity (FOXO), cellular stress response (HIF1A) and cytoskeletal remodeling (PKC) were inversely correlated with age, whereas genes relating to inhibition of ribosomal components (4EBP1) and inflammatory mediators (STAT3) were positively associated with age in one or both datasets. We conclude that the expression of mTOR-related transcripts is associated with advancing age in humans. Changes seen are broadly similar to mTOR inhibition interventions associated with increased lifespan in animals. Work is needed to establish whether these changes are predictive of human longevity and whether further mTOR inhibition would be beneficial in older people." It is worth recalling that we humans are unusually long-lived for mammals of our size; it is certainly possible that we evolved to consistently use some of the same mechanisms that are only turned on with calorie restriction in smaller mammals.



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