Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) progresses very slowly and the majority of patients are therefore elderly. COPD is characterized by an abnormal persistent inflammatory response to noxious environmental stimuli and there are increasing evidences for a close relationship between premature aging and chronic inflammatory diseases. Thus, COPD is considered to be a disease of an accelerating aging. In this review, we collected the evidence for roles of aging on pathogenesis of COPD and considered future therapeutic strategy for COPD based on this senescence hypothesis. Since calorie restriction has been proved to extend lifespan, many efforts were made to clarify the molecular mechanism of aging. Aging is defined as the progressive decline of homeostasis that occurs after the reproductive phase of life is complete, leading to an increasing risk of disease or death due to impaired DNA repair after damage by oxidative stress or telomere shortening as a result of repeated cell division. During aging, pulmonary function progressively deteriorates; innate immunity is impaired and pulmonary inflammation increases, accompanied by structural changes, such as an enlargement of airspaces. Noxious environmental gases, such as cigarette smoke, may worsen these aging-related events in the lung or accelerate aging of the lung due to reduction in anti-aging molecules and/or stimulation of aging molecules. Aging signaling are complex but conserved in divert species, such as worm, fruit fry, rodent and humans. Especially the insulin like growth factor (IGF-1) signaling was well documented. Geroprotectors are therapeutics that affect the root cause of aging and age-related diseases, and thus prolong the life-span of animals. Most of geroprotectors such as melatonin, metformin, rapamycin and resveratrol are anti-oxidant or anti-aging molecule regulators. Therefore, geroprotection for the lung might be an attractive approach for the treatment of COPD by preventing premature aging of lung.
Keywords: COPD; geroprotector; lung function; oxidative stress; premature aging; sirtuin.