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Review
, 56 (11), B475-82

Apoptosis and Aging: Role of the Mitochondria

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Review

Apoptosis and Aging: Role of the Mitochondria

M Pollack et al. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci.

Abstract

Apoptosis research is a rapidly developing area, but the role of apoptosis is still unclear and controversial. For example, several studies document a significant loss of cardiac and skeletal myocytes during normal aging, possibly by apoptotic mechanisms. This loss in cells may be directly mediated by mitochondrial dysfunction caused by chronic exposure to oxidants and increased activation of mitochondrial permeability transition pores. This review will discuss apoptosis in the context of normal aging of T cells, cardiac myocytes, skeletal muscle, and brain cortex. Particular attention is paid to the role of the mitochondria, because they have been implicated as a major control center regulating apoptosis. Mitochondrial oxidative stress and a decline in mitochondrial energy production in vitro often leads to activation of apoptotic pathways, but whether this occurs in vivo is unclear.

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