Aging as a mitochondria-mediated atavistic program: can aging be switched off?

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005 Dec;1057:145-64. doi: 10.1196/annals.1356.009.


Programmed death phenomena have been demonstrated on subcellular (mitoptosis), cellular (apoptosis), and supracellular (collective apoptosis) levels. There are numerous examples of suicide mechanisms at the organismal level (phenoptosis). In yeast, it was recently shown that the death of aging cells is programmed. Many of the steps of programmed cell death are shown to be common for yeast and animals, including mammals. In particular, generation of the mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) is involved in the suicide programs. Aging of higher animals is accompanied by an increase in damage induced by mitochondrial ROS. Perhaps prevention of such damage by scavenging of mitochondrial ROS might slow down or even switch off the aging programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Biological Evolution
  • Hormones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mutation
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism
  • Yeasts / physiology


  • Hormones
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53