Modelling the molecular mechanisms of aging

Biosci Rep. 2017 Feb 23;37(1):BSR20160177. doi: 10.1042/BSR20160177. Print 2017 Feb 28.


The aging process is driven at the cellular level by random molecular damage that slowly accumulates with age. Although cells possess mechanisms to repair or remove damage, they are not 100% efficient and their efficiency declines with age. There are many molecular mechanisms involved and exogenous factors such as stress also contribute to the aging process. The complexity of the aging process has stimulated the use of computational modelling in order to increase our understanding of the system, test hypotheses and make testable predictions. As many different mechanisms are involved, a wide range of models have been developed. This paper gives an overview of the types of models that have been developed, the range of tools used, modelling standards and discusses many specific examples of models that have been grouped according to the main mechanisms that they address. We conclude by discussing the opportunities and challenges for future modelling in this field.

Keywords: aging; computational models; computer simulation; modelling standards; molecular mechanisms.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Computer Simulation*
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Repair
  • Humans
  • Mitochondrial Dynamics
  • Models, Biological*
  • Proteolysis
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Software
  • Telomere Shortening


  • Reactive Oxygen Species