Epigenetics of aging and aging-related disease

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2014 Jun;69 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S17-20. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glu042.

Abstract

Aging is associated with a wide range of human disorders, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular, and neurodegenerative diseases. Long thought to be an inexorable road toward decline and diseases, aging is in fact remarkably plastic. Such plasticity could be harnessed to approach age-related diseases from a novel perspective. Although many studies have focused on the genes that impact aging, the nongenetic regulation of aging is gaining increasing attention. Specifically, aging is associated with profound epigenetic changes, resulting in alterations of gene expression and disturbances in broad genome architecture and the epigenomic landscape. The potential reversibility of these epigenetic changes that occur as a hallmark of aging offers exciting opportunities to alter the trajectory of age-related diseases. This short review highlights key epigenetic players in the regulation of aging, as well as both future goals and challenges to the utilization of epigenetic strategies to delay and reverse the main diseases of aging.

Keywords: Epigenetic changes; Reversibility..

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics*
  • Chronic Disease
  • DNA / genetics*
  • DNA Damage
  • Epigenomics / methods*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Humans

Substances

  • DNA