Significance: A constant accumulation of oxidized proteins takes place during aging. Oxidation of proteins leads to a partial unfolding and, therefore, to aggregation. Protein aggregates impair the activity of cellular proteolytic systems (proteasomes, lysosomes), resulting in further accumulation of oxidized proteins. In addition, the accumulation of highly crosslinked protein aggregates leads to further oxidant formation, damage to macromolecules, and, finally, to apoptotic cell death. Furthermore, protein oxidation seems to play a role in the development of various age-related diseases, for example, neurodegenerative diseases.
Recent advances: The highly oxidized lipofuscin accumulates during aging. Lipofuscin formation might cause impaired lysosomal and proteasomal degradation, metal ion accumulation, increased reactive oxygen species formation, and apoptosis.
Critical issues: It is still unclear to which extent protein oxidation is involved in the progression of aging and in the development of some age-related diseases.
Future directions: An extensive knowledge of the effects of protein oxidation on the aging process and its contribution to the development of age-related diseases could enable further strategies to reduce age-related impairments. Strategies aimed at lowering aggregate formation might be a straightforward intervention to reduce age-related malfunctions of organs.