Increased Molecular Damage and Heterogeneity as the Basis of Aging

Biol Chem. 2008 Mar;389(3):267-72. doi: 10.1515/BC.2008.030.


Aging at the molecular level is characterized by the progressive accumulation of molecular damage. The sources of damage act randomly through environmental and metabolically generated free radicals, through spontaneous errors in biochemical reactions, and through nutritional components. However, damage to a macromolecule may depend on its structure, localization and interactions with other macromolecules. Damage to the maintenance and repair pathways comprising homeodynamic machinery leads to age-related failure of homeodynamics, increased molecular heterogeneity, altered cellular functioning, reduced stress tolerance, diseases and ultimate death. Novel approaches for testing and developing effective means of intervention, prevention and modulation of aging involve means to minimize the occurrence and accumulation of molecular damage. Mild stress-induced hormesis by physical, biological and nutritional methods, including hormetins, represents a promising strategy for achieving healthy aging and for preventing age-related diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / physiology
  • Cellular Senescence / physiology
  • DNA Damage
  • Free Radicals / metabolism
  • Homeostasis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Proteins / drug effects
  • RNA / drug effects


  • Antioxidants
  • Free Radicals
  • Proteins
  • RNA