Aging of perennial cells and organ parts according to the programmed aging paradigm

Age (Dordr). 2016 Apr;38(2):35. doi: 10.1007/s11357-016-9895-0. Epub 2016 Mar 8.


If aging is a physiological phenomenon-as maintained by the programmed aging paradigm-it must be caused by specific genetically determined and regulated mechanisms, which must be confirmed by evidence. Within the programmed aging paradigm, a complete proposal starts from the observation that cells, tissues, and organs show continuous turnover: As telomere shortening determines both limits to cell replication and a progressive impairment of cellular functions, a progressive decline in age-related fitness decline (i.e., aging) is a clear consequence. Against this hypothesis, a critic might argue that there are cells (most types of neurons) and organ parts (crystalline core and tooth enamel) that have no turnover and are subject to wear or manifest alterations similar to those of cells with turnover. In this review, it is shown how cell types without turnover appear to be strictly dependent on cells subjected to turnover. The loss or weakening of the functions fulfilled by these cells with turnover, due to telomere shortening and turnover slowing, compromises the vitality of the served cells without turnover. This determines well-known clinical manifestations, which in their early forms are described as distinct diseases (e.g., Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, age-related macular degeneration, etc.). Moreover, for the two organ parts (crystalline core and tooth enamel) without viable cells or any cell turnover, it is discussed how this is entirely compatible with the programmed aging paradigm.

Keywords: Age-related macular degeneration; Aging; Alzheimer disease; Cell senescence; Cell turnover; Parkinson disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cell Division
  • Cellular Senescence
  • Humans
  • Telomere / genetics*
  • Telomere / metabolism
  • Telomere Shortening / genetics*