Downregulation of the Apelinergic Axis Accelerates Aging, whereas Its Systemic Restoration Improves the Mammalian Healthspan

Cell Rep. 2017 Nov 7;21(6):1471-1480. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.10.057.


Aging drives the occurrence of numerous diseases, including cardiovascular disease (CVD). Recent studies indicate that blood from young mice reduces age-associated pathologies. However, the "anti-aging" factors in juvenile circulation remain poorly identified. Here, we characterize the role of the apelinergic axis in mammalian aging and identify apelin as an anti-aging factor. The expression of apelin (apln) and its receptor (aplnr) exhibits an age-dependent decline in multiple organs. Reduced apln signaling perturbs organismal homeostasis; mice harboring genetic deficiency of aplnr or apln exhibit enhanced cardiovascular, renal, and reproductive aging. Genetic or pharmacological abrogation of apln signaling also induces cellular senescence mediated, in part, by the activation of senescence-promoting transcription factors. Conversely, restoration of apln in 15-month-old wild-type mice reduces cardiac hypertrophy and exercise-induced hypertensive response. Additionally, apln-restored mice exhibit enhanced vigor and rejuvenated behavioral and circadian phenotypes. Hence, a declining apelinergic axis promotes aging, whereas its restoration extends the murine healthspan.

Keywords: APJ; aging; apelin; aplnr; senescence.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Apelin / deficiency
  • Apelin / genetics*
  • Apelin / metabolism
  • Apelin Receptors / deficiency
  • Apelin Receptors / genetics*
  • Apelin Receptors / metabolism
  • Cardiomegaly / metabolism
  • Cardiomegaly / pathology
  • Cell Line
  • Coronary Vessels / cytology
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21 / genetics
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21 / metabolism
  • Down-Regulation*
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Female
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics
  • Genetic Vectors / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Hypertension / metabolism
  • Lentivirus / genetics
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Signal Transduction


  • Apelin
  • Apelin Receptors
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21