TLDR funds peer review.

These preprints are featured in the VitaDAO Research Newsletter and will be candidates for The Longevist. $VITA bounties will be paid to peer reviewers and a $VITA prize will go to the top reviews.


+3 vote | 24 June 2023 | Biorxiv link | Write review

An ability to delay aging--or to reverse the negative effects of aging--could prevent age-related disease and greatly enhance quality of life in old age. However, whether it is possible to globally reverse the physiological effects of aging in order to extend healthspan is unknown. The freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea has been considered "immortal" due to its exceptional tissue regeneration capabilities. Here, we report that a sexually reproducing lineage of S. mediterranea exhibits age-associated physiological decline 12 months after birth. Age-associated changes include alterations in sensory organs, loss of neurons and muscle, loss of fertility, and impaired motility, but no reduction in stem cells at the age of 3 years. Differential gene expression analysis, comparing young and old planarian cells, furthermore revealed cell-type-specific changes in transcription as well as changes in classical aging pathways (e.g., insulin signaling). Remarkably, amputation followed by regeneration of lost tissues led to a global reversal of these age-associated changes. Older individuals that underwent regeneration showed restored youthful patterns of gene expression, stem cell states, tissue composition and rejuvenation of whole-animal physiology. Our work reveals a naturally evolved solution to age reversal in planaria that may provide insights into anti-aging strategies in humans. | Make paid

New | 21 June 2023 | Biorxiv link | Write review

Aberrant mitochondrial function has been associated with an increasingly large number of human disease states. Observations from in vivo models where mitochondrial function is altered suggest that adaptations to mitochondrial dysfunction may underpin disease pathology. We hypothesized that the severity of these maladaptations could be shaped by the plasticity of the system when mitochondrial dysfunction manifests. To investigate this, we have used inducible fly models of mitochondrial complex I (CI) dysfunction to reduce mitochondrial function at two stages of the fly lifecycle, from early development and adult eclosion. Here, we show that in early life (developmental) mitochondrial dysfunction results in severe reductions in survival and stress resistance in adulthood, while flies where mitochondrial function is perturbed from adulthood, are long-lived and stress resistant despite having up to an 75% reduction in CI activity. After excluding developmental defects as a cause, we went on to molecularly characterize these two populations of mitochondrially compromised flies, short- and long-lived. We find that our short-lived flies have unique transcriptomic and metabolomic responses which overlap significantly in discreet models of CI dysfunction. Our data demonstrate that early mitochondrial dysfunction via CI depletion elicits an adaptive response which severely reduces survival, while CI depletion from adulthood is not sufficient to reduce survival and stress resistance. | Make paid

+2 vote | 13 June 2023 | Biorxiv link | Write review

Impaired performance in spatial learning and memory during aging in rats is associated with morphological and molecular changes in the brain, particularly in the hippocampus. Here, we assessed the cognitive performance of young (3.5 mo.) untreated rats and old (25.3 mo.) treated and control rats. Treatment was carried out by intrahippocampal injection of an adenovector that carries the GFP reporter gene as well as the 4 Yamanaka genes. Learning and spatial memory performance were assessed by means of the Barnes maze test. The learning performance of the OSKM-treated old rats was significantly improved compared to that of the control old counterparts. A marginal (P=0.06) improvement in the spatial memory was recorded in the treated versus control old rats. OSKM gene expression induced no pathological changes in the brain. The morphology and number of hippocampal cell populations like astrocytes and mature neurons did not show any changes with the treatment in the old rats as compared with the control old counterparts. The rat pan tissue DNAm age marker revealed that old OSKM gene-treated rats show a trend towards a decrease in epigenetic age. The Limma package was used to assess differential methylation by fitting linear models to the methylation data for specific group comparisons. Comparison of differential methylation between old treated and old control hippocampal DNA samples identified 671 differentially methylated CpGs probes (DPMs) in the DNA of OSKM-treated hippocampi (p<0.05). Assessment of the DPMs in old versus young controls revealed the presence of 1,279 hypomethylated CpGs near the promoter regions in young hippocampi (versus old controls) and 914 hypermethylated CpGs near the promoter in young hippocampi compared to old control hippocampi. We found a subset of 174 hypomethylated CpGs in the hippocampal DNA from old OSKM rats and young controls both compared with old control hippocampi. This means that in the hippocampal DNA there is a common set of CpGs which are hypermethylated during aging and are demethylated by the OSKM genes. This observation suggested that in these 174 CpGs the hypermethylation induced by aging is reversed by the demethylation effect of the OSKM genes on the same 174 CpGs. This observation can be interpreted as a rejuvenation effect of the OSKM genes of the old hippocampal methylome. Our results extend to the rat the evidence that viral vector-mediated delivery of the Yamanaka genes in the brain has strong regenerative effects without adverse side effects. | Make paid

+1 vote | 2 June 2023 | Medrxiv link | Write review

ObjectivesThe association between leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) and a lower risk of mortality is susceptible to bias from multiple sources. We investigated the potential of biological ageing to mediate the association between long-term LTPA and mortality and whether the methods used to account for reverse causality affect the interpretation of this association. MethodsStudy participants were twins from the older Finnish Twin Cohort (n=22,750; 18-50 years at baseline). LTPA was assessed using questionnaires in 1975, 1981 and 1990. The mortality follow-up lasted until 2020 and biological ageing was assessed using epigenetic clocks in a subsample (n=1,153) with blood samples taken during the follow-up. Using latent profile analysis, we identified classes with distinct longitudinal LTPA patterns and studied differences in biological ageing between these classes. We employed survival models to examine differences in total, short-term and long-term all-cause mortality, and multilevel models for twin data to control for familial factors. ResultsWe identified four classes of long-term LTPA: sedentary, moderately active, active and highly active. Although biological ageing was accelerated in sedentary and highly active classes, after adjusting for other lifestyle-related factors, the associations mainly attenuated. Physically active classes had a maximum 7% lower risk of total mortality over the sedentary class, but this association was consistent only in the short term and could largely be accounted for by familial factors. LTPA exhibited less favourable associations when prevalent diseases were exclusion criteria rather than covariate. ConclusionBeing active may reflect a healthy phenotype instead of causally reducing mortality. | Make paid

New | 19 May 2023 | Medrxiv link | Write review

ObjectiveTo investigate the mortality risk linked to prescription of different anti-diabetic medication classes. DesignProspective population-based study. SettingUK Biobank. Participants410 389 of the 502 536 participants in UK Biobank with covariate data, clinical and prescription records were included in the analyses, 43 610 of which had been diagnosed type 2 diabetes (T2D). A nearest neighbour covariate matching (NNCM) algorithm based on covariates with relevant effects on survival was applied to match cohorts of anti-diabetic medication class users to minimally differing control cohorts, either with a T2D diagnosis or without. Kaplan Meier estimates and Cox proportional models were used to evaluate survival differences and hazard ratio between drug classes and controls. Main outcome measuresAll-cause mortality and causes of death. Results13667 (3.3%) individuals died during a median of 12.2 years of follow-up. After applying NNCM, participants with T2D on metformin (average hazard ratio 0.39, 95% confidence interval 0.31 to 0.49) or SGLT2I (average hazard ratio 0.58, 95% confidence interval 0.36 to 0.93) have an increased survival probability compared to matched individuals with T2D. When compared to matched individuals without T2D, the survival probability of individuals with T2D increases only if prescribed SGLT2I (average hazard ratio 0.31, 95% confidence interval 0.19 to 0.51). NNCM based analysis of matched individuals with T2D on both SGLT2I and metformin versus metformin only reveals increased survival in the presence of SGLT2I (average hazard ratio 0.29, 95% confidence interval 0.09 to 0.91), also when compared to matched identical individuals without T2D (average hazard ratio 0.05, 95% confidence interval 0.01 to 0.19). All the other anti-diabetic drugs analyzed are either detrimental in prolonging lifespan (insulin, thiazolidinediones, and sulfonylureas), or have no effect (DPP4 inhibitors and GLP1 receptor agonists). ConclusionThe use of the current first-line anti-diabetic treatment, metformin, or sodium glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2I) increases the survival probability compared to matched individuals with diabetes using other anti-diabetic drugs. Only individuals on SGLT2I experience increased survival when compared to individuals without T2D. | Make paid

New | 12 May 2023 | Biorxiv link | Write review

Unlike aged somatic cells, which exhibit a decline in molecular fidelity and eventually reach a state of replicative senescence, pluripotent stem cells can indefinitely replenish themselves while retaining full homeostatic capacity. The conferment of beneficial-pluripotency related traits via in vivo partial cellular reprogramming (IVPR) significantly extends lifespan and restores aging phenotypes in mouse models. Although the phases of cellular reprogramming are well characterized, details of the rejuvenation processes are poorly defined. To understand whether epigenetic reprogramming can ameliorate DNA damage, we created reprogrammable accelerated aging mouse model with an ERCC1 mutation. Importantly, using enhanced partial reprogramming by combining small molecules with the Yamanaka factors, we observed potent reversion of DNA damage, significant upregulation of multiple DNA damage repair processes, and restoration of the epigenetic clock. In addition, we present evidence that pharmacological inhibition of ALK5 and ALK2 receptors in TGFb pathway is able to phenocopy some benefits including epigenetic clock restoration suggesting a role in the mechanism of rejuvenation by partial reprogramming. | Make paid

New | 7 May 2023 | Biorxiv link | Write review

At over 200 years, the maximum lifespan of the bowhead whale exceeds that of all other mammals. The bowhead is also the second-largest animal on Earth, reaching over 80,000 kg1. In spite of its very large number of cells, the bowhead is not highly cancer-prone, an incongruity termed Petos Paradox2. This has been explained by the evolution of additional tumor suppressor genes in larger animals, which is supported by research on elephants demonstrating expansion of the p53 gene3-5. However, we show here that bowhead whale fibroblasts undergo oncogenic transformation after disruption of fewer tumor suppressors than required for human fibroblasts. Instead, analysis of DNA repair revealed that bowhead cells repair double-strand breaks with uniquely high efficiency and accuracy compared to other mammals. Further, we identified two proteins, CIRBP and RPA2, that are present at high levels in bowhead fibroblasts and increase the efficiency and fidelity of DNA repair in human cells. These results suggest that rather than possessing additional tumor suppressor genes as barriers to oncogenesis, the bowhead whale relies on more accurate and efficient DNA repair to preserve genome integrity. This strategy that does not eliminate cells but repairs them may be critical for the long and cancer-free lifespan of the bowhead whale. Our work demonstrates the value of studying long-lived organisms in identifying novel longevity mechanisms and their potential for translation to humans. | Make paid

+1 vote | 29 April 2023 | Biorxiv link | Write review

Ovarian aging leads to diminished fertility, dysregulated endocrine signaling, and increased chronic disease burden. These effects begin to emerge long before follicular exhaustion. Around 35 years old, women experience a sharp decline in fertility, corresponding to declines in oocyte quality. However, the field lacks a cellular map of the transcriptomic changes in the aging ovary to identify drivers of ovarian decline. To fill this gap, we performed single-cell RNA sequencing on ovarian tissue from young (3-month-old) and reproductively aged (9-month-old) mice. Our analysis revealed a doubling of immune cells in the aged ovary, with T and B lymphocyte proportions increasing most. We also discovered an age-related upregulation of alternative macrophage and downregulation of collagenase pathways in stromal fibroblasts. Overall, follicular cells (especially granulosa and theca) display stress response, immunogenic, and fibrotic signaling pathway inductions with aging. These changes are more exaggerated in the atretic granulosa cells but are also observed in healthy antral and preantral granulosa cells. Moreover, we did not observe age-related changes in markers of cellular senescence in any cellular population with advancing age, despite specific immune cells expressing senescence-related genes across both timepoints. This report raises several new hypotheses that could be pursued to elucidate mechanisms responsible for ovarian aging phenotypes. | Make paid

New | 29 April 2023 | Biorxiv link | Write review

The study of age is plagued by a lack of delineation between the causes and effects within the ageing phenotype. This has made it difficult to fully explain the biological ageing process from first principles with a single definition. Lacking a clear description of the underlying root cause of biological age confounds clarity in this critical field. In this paper, we demonstrate that the epigenetic system has a built-in, unavoidable fidelity limitation and consequently demonstrate that there is a distinct class of DNA methylation loci that increases in variance in a manner tightly correlated with chronological age. We demonstrate the existence of epigenetic activation functions and that topological features beyond these activation functions represent deregulation. We show that the measurement of epigenetic fidelity is an accurate predictor of cross-species age and present a deep-learning model that predicts exclusively from knowledge of variance. We find that the classes of epigenetic loci in which variation correlates with chronological age control genes that regulate transcription and suggest that the inevitable consequence of this is a feedback cycle of system-wide deregulation causing a progressive collapse into the phenotype of age. This paper represents a novel theory of biological systemic ageing with arguments as to why, how and when epigenetic ageing is inevitable. | Make paid

New | 13 April 2023 | Biorxiv link | Write review

Despite their biological importance, the role of stem cells in human aging remains to be elucidated. In this work, we applied a machine learning methodology to GTEx transcriptome data and assigned stemness scores to 17,382 healthy samples from 30 human tissues aged between 20 and 79 years. We found that [~]60% of the studied tissues present a significant negative correlation between the subjects age and stemness score. The only significant exception to this pattern was the uterus, where we observed an increased stemness with age. Moreover, we observed a global trend of positive correlations between cell proliferation and stemness. When analyzing the tissues individually, we found that [~]50% of human tissues present a positive correlation between stemness and proliferation and 20% a negative correlation. Furthermore, all our analyses show negative correlations between stemness and cellular senescence, with significant results in [~]80% of the tissues analyzed. Finally, we also observed a trend that hematopoietic stem cells derived from old patients might have more stemness. In short, we assigned stemness scores to human samples and show evidence of a pan-tissue loss of stemness during human aging, which adds weight to the idea that stem cell deterioration contributes to human ageing. | Make paid


+2 vote | 22 March 2023 | Biorxiv link | Write review

Senescence, a state of permanent cell-cycle withdrawal, is difficult to distinguish from quiescence, a transient state of cell-cycle withdrawal. This difficulty arises because quiescent and senescent cells are defined by overlapping biomarkers, raising the question of whether quiescence and senescence are truly distinct states. To address this, we used single-cell time-lapse imaging to distinguish slow-cycling quiescent cells from bona fide senescent cells after chemotherapy treatment, followed immediately by staining for various senescence biomarkers. We found that the staining intensity of multiple senescence biomarkers is graded rather than binary and primarily reflects the duration of cell-cycle withdrawal, rather than senescence per se. Together, our data suggest that quiescence and senescence are not distinct cellular states but rather fall on a continuum of cell-cycle withdrawal, where the intensities of canonical senescence biomarkers reflect the likelihood of cell-cycle re-entry. | Make paid

New | 13 March 2023 | Biorxiv link | Write review

The declining capacity of cells to maintain a functional proteome is a major driver of cellular dysfunction and decreased fitness in aging. Here we assess the impact of aging on multiple proteome dimensions, which are reflective of function, across the replicative lifespan of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We quantified protein abundance, protein turnover, protein thermal stability, and protein phosphorylation in mother yeast cells and their derived progeny at different ages. We find progressive and cumulative proteomic alterations that are reflective of dysregulation of complex assemblies, mitochondrial remodeling, post-translational activation of the AMPK/Snf1 energy sensor in mother cells, and an overall shift from biosynthetic to energy-metabolic processes. Our multidimensional proteomic study systematically corroborates previous findings of asymmetric segregation and daughter cell rejuvenation, and extends these concepts to protein complexes, protein phosphorylation, and activation of signaling pathways. Lastly, profiling age-dependent proteome changes in a caloric restriction model of yeast provided mechanistic insights into longevity, revealing minimal remodeling of energy-metabolic pathways, improved mitochondrial maintenance, ameliorated protein biogenesis, and decreased stress responses. Taken together, our study provides thousands of age-dependent molecular events that can be used to gain a holistic understanding of mechanisms of aging. | Make paid

New | 9 March 2023 | Biorxiv link | Write review

Mitochondrial genomes co-evolve with the nuclear genome over evolutionary timescales and are shaped by selection in the female germline. Here, we investigate how mismatching between nuclear and mitochondrial ancestry impacts the somatic evolution of the mt-genome in different tissues through aging. We used ultra-sensitive Duplex Sequencing to profile ~2.5 million mt-genomes across five mitochondrial haplotypes and three tissues in young and aged mice, cataloging ~1.2 million mitochondrial somatic mutations. We identify haplotype-specific mutational patterns and several mutational hotspots, including at the Light Strand Origin of Replication, which consistently exhibits the highest mutation frequency. We show that rodents exhibit a distinct mitochondrial somatic mutational spectrum compared to primates with a surfeit of reactive oxygen species-associated G>T/C>A mutations and that somatic mutations in protein coding genes exhibit strong signatures of positive selection. Lastly, we identify an extensive enrichment in somatic reversion mutations that "re-align" mito-nuclear ancestry within an organism's lifespan. Together, our findings demonstrate that mitochondrial genomes are a dynamically evolving subcellular population shaped by somatic mutation and selection throughout organismal lifetimes. | Make paid

+1 vote | 27 February 2023 | Biorxiv link | Write review

Little is known about tissue specific changes that occur with aging in humans. Using the description of 33 million histological samples we extract thousands of age- and mortality-associated features from text narratives that we call The Human Pathome ( Notably, we can broadly determine when pathological aging starts, indicating a sexual dimorphism with females aging earlier but slower and males aging later but faster. Using machine learning, we employ unsupervised topic-modelling to identify terms and themes that predict age and mortality. As a proof of principle, we cross reference these terms in PubMed to identify nintedanib as a potential aging intervention and show that nintedanib reduces markers of cellular senescence, reduces pro-fibrotic gene pathways in senescent cells and extends the lifespan of fruit flies. Our findings pave the way for expanded exploitation of population datasets towards discovery of novel aging interventions. | Make paid

+2 vote | 14 February 2023 | Biorxiv link | Write review

Decreased insulin-mTOR signaling enables exceptional longevity in the nematode C. elegans by activating geroprotective transcription factors, including DAF-16, SKN-1 and HSF-1. Few studies have examined whether and how increased insulin-mTOR may actively drive organismic aging. Here we show that an agonist insulin INS-7 is drastically over-produced and causes shortened lifespan in lpd-3 mutants, a C. elegans model of human Alkuraya-Ku[c]inskas syndrome. Lipidomic profiling reveals marked increase in the abundance of hexaceramide species in lpd-3 mutants, consistent with up-regulation of the genes encoding biosynthetic enzymes for hexaceramides, including HYL-1 (Homolog of Yeast Longevity). Reducing HYL-1 activity decreases INS-7 levels and rescues the shortened lifespan of lpd-3 mutants through InsR/DAF-2 and mTOR/LET-363. We propose that increased insulin signaling exhibits late-life antagonistic pleiotropy and shortens lifespans through sphingolipid-hexaceramide and mTOR regulatory pathways. | Make paid

New | 30 January 2023 | link | Write review

Aging clocks have provided one of the most significant recent breakthroughs in the biology of aging. Such clocks allow the determination of chronological and increasingly also biological age, which is prerequisite for assessing the effectiveness of interventions in the aging process and preventive treatments of age-related diseases. The most advanced aging clocks are based on age-dependent changes in DNA methylation pattern. The reproducibility of such changes over the life course has reinvigorated the debate whether a programmed process underlies aging. A programmed aging process, however, is incompatibly with the evolutionary theory of aging. Aging occurs as a consequence of a vanishing force of selective pressure post-reproduction as no fitness benefit is provided by immortality of the soma. In fact, stochastic events have been observed to increasingly occur during the aging process. Here, we test whether aging clocks could be built with entirely stochastic variation. We find that accumulating stochastic variation is sufficient to accurately predict chronological and biological age. Moreover, current aging clocks are entirely compatible with random alterations in the methylation or transcriptomic patterns. Our analysis unifies the clock measure of aging with the evolutionary theory of aging and predicts that any set of data that have a ground state at the age zero with accumulating stochastic variation could be used for building accurate aging clocks. | Make paid

+1 vote | 30 January 2023 | Biorxiv link | Write review

The accumulation of senescent cells promotes aging, but a molecular mechanism that senescent cells use to evade immune clearance and accumulate remains to be elucidated. Here, we report that p16-positive senescent cells upregulate the immune checkpoint protein programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) to accumulate in aging and chronic inflammation. p16-mediated inhibition of CDK4/6 promotes PD-L1 stability in senescent cells via the downregulation of ubiquitin-dependent degradation. p16 expression in infiltrating macrophages induces an immunosuppressive environment that can contribute to an increased burden of senescent cells. Treatment with immunostimulatory anti-PD-L1 antibody enhances the cytotoxic T cell activity and leads to the elimination of p16, PD-L1-positive cells. Our study uncovers a molecular mechanism of p16-dependent regulation of PD-L1 protein stability in senescent cells and reveals the potential of PD-L1 as a target for treating senescence-mediated age-associated diseases. | Make paid

+2 vote | 26 January 2023 | Biorxiv link | Write review

Altered mitochondrial function is tightly linked to lifespan regulation, but underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we report the chronological and replicative lifespan variation across 168 yeast knock-out strains, each lacking a single nuclear-coded mitochondrial gene, including 144 genes with human homologs, many associated with diseases. We dissected the signatures of observed lifespan differences by analyzing profiles of each strain's proteome, lipidome, and metabolome under fermentative and respiratory culture conditions, which correspond to the metabolic states of replicative and chronologically aging cells, respectively. Examination of the relationships among extended longevity phenotypes, protein, and metabolite levels revealed that although many of these nuclear-encoded mitochondrial genes carry out different functions, their inhibition attenuates a common mechanism that controls cytosolic ribosomal protein abundance, actin dynamics, and proteasome function to regulate lifespan. The principles of lifespan control learned through this work may be applicable to the regulation of lifespan in more complex organisms, since many aspects of mitochondrial function are highly conserved among eukaryotes. | Make paid

+1 vote | 24 January 2023 | Biorxiv link | Write review

The risk of dying tends to increase with age, but this trend is far from universal. For humans, mortality is high during infancy, declines during juvenile development, and increases during adulthood. For other species, mortality never increases, or even continuously declines with age, which has been interpreted as absent- or reverse-aging. We developed a mathematical model that suggests an alternative interpretation. The model describes the age-dependence of mortality as the sum of two opposite processes. The mortality risk due to physiological decline increases monotonously with age. But old individuals gain survival benefits through processes like growth and learning. This simple model fits mortality dynamics for all human age classes and for species across the tree of life. Simulations revealed an unexpected complexity by which learning impacts the evolution of aging. An ability to learn initially accelerated the evolution of slower aging but constrained the slowest possible rate of aging that can evolve. This constraint occurs when learning reduces mortality during the reproductive period to near negligible levels and thereby eliminates selection for a further slow-down of aging. In conclusion, learning accelerates the evolution of slower aging, but obstructs the evolution of negligible senescence for species with strong learning-associated survival benefits. | Make paid

+3 vote | 16 January 2023 | Biorxiv link | Write review

The geroscience hypothesis states that a therapy that prevents the underlying aging process should prevent multiple aging related diseases. The mTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin)/insulin and NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) pathways are two of the most validated aging pathways. Yet, its largely unclear how they might talk to each other in aging. In genome-wide CRISPRa screening with a novel class of N-O-Methyl-propanamide-containing compounds we named BIOIO-1001, we identified lipid metabolism centering on SIRT3 as a point of intersection of the mTOR/insulin and NAD+ pathways. In vivo testing indicated that BIOIO-1001 reduced high fat, high sugar diet-induced metabolic derangements, inflammation, and fibrosis, each being characteristic of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). An unbiased screen of patient datasets suggested a potential link between the anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic effects of BIOIO-1001 in NASH models to those in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Directed experiments subsequently determined that BIOIO-1001 was protective in both sporadic and familial ALS models. Both NASH and ALS have no treatments and suffer from a lack of convenient biomarkers to monitor therapeutic efficacy. A potential strength in considering BIOIO-1001 as a therapy is that the blood biomarker that it modulates, namely plasma triglycerides, can be conveniently used to screen patients for responders. More conceptually, to our knowledge BIOIO-1001 is a first therapy that fits the geroscience hypothesis by acting on multiple core aging pathways and that can alleviate multiple conditions after they have set in. Brief SummaryThese studies characterize a novel gerotherapy, BIOIO-1001, that identifies lipid metabolism as an intersection of the mTOR and NAD+ pathways. | Make paid

+5 vote | 4 January 2023 | Biorxiv link | Write review

Aging is a complex process best characterized as the chronic dysregulation of cellular processes leading to deteriorated tissue and organ function. While aging cannot currently be prevented, its impact on lifespan and healthspan in the elderly can potentially be minimized by interventions that aim to return these cellular processes to optimal function. Recent studies have demonstrated that partial reprogramming using the Yamanaka factors (or a subset; OCT4, SOX2, and KLF4; OSK) can reverse age-related changes in vitro and in vivo. However, it is still unknown whether the Yamanaka factors (or a subset) are capable of extending the lifespan of aged wild type mice. Here, we show that systemically delivered AAVs, encoding an inducible OSK system, in 124-week-old mice extends the median remaining lifespan by 109% over wild-type controls and enhances several health parameters. Importantly, we observed a significant improvement in frailty scores indicating that we were able to improve the healthspan along with increasing the lifespan. Furthermore, in human keratinocytes expressing exogenous OSK, we observed significant epigenetic markers of age-reversal, suggesting a potential reregulation of genetic networks to a younger, potentially healthier state. Together, these results may have important implications for the development of partial reprogramming interventions to reverse age-associated diseases in the elderly. | Make paid