Aging leads to hypothalamic inflammation, but does so more slowly in mice whose lifespan has been extended by mutations that affect GH/IGF-1 signals. Early-life exposure to GH by injection, or to nutrient restriction in the first 3 weeks of life, also modulate both lifespan and the pace of hypothalamic inflammation. Three drugs extend lifespan of UM-HET3 mice in a sex-specific way: acarbose (ACA), 17-α-estradiol (17αE2), and nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA), with more dramatic longevity increases in males in each case. In this study, we examined the effect of these anti-aging drugs on neuro-inflammation in hypothalamus and hippocampus. We found that age-associated hypothalamic inflammation is reduced in males but not in females at 12 months of age by ACA and 17αE2 and at 22 months of age in NDGA-treated mice. The three drugs blocked indices of hypothalamic reactive gliosis associated with aging, such as Iba-1-positive microglia and GFAP-positive astrocytes, as well as age-associated overproduction of TNF-α. This effect was not observed in drug-treated female mice or in the hippocampus of the drug-treated animals. On the other hand, caloric restriction (CR; an intervention that extends the lifespan in both sexes) significantly reduced hypothalamic microglia and TNF-α in both sexes at 12 months of age. Together, these results suggest that the extent of drug-induced changes in hypothalamic inflammatory processes is sexually dimorphic in a pattern that parallels the effects of these agents on mouse longevity and that mimics the changes seen, in both sexes, of long-lived nutrient restricted or mutant mice.
Keywords: NDGA; 17-α Estradiol; Acarbose; aging; hypothalamus; inflammation; longevity; sexual dimorphism.
© 2017 The Authors. Aging Cell published by the Anatomical Society and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.