Growing evidence supports the antagonistic pleiotropy theory of mammalian aging. Accordingly, changes in gene expression following the pluripotency transition, and subsequent transitions such as the embryonic-fetal transition, while providing tumor suppressive and antiviral survival benefits also result in a loss of regenerative potential leading to age-related fibrosis and degenerative diseases. However, reprogramming somatic cells to pluripotency demonstrates the possibility of restoring telomerase and embryonic regeneration pathways and thus reversing the age-related decline in regenerative capacity. A unified model of aging and loss of regenerative potential is emerging that may ultimately be translated into new therapeutic approaches for establishing induced tissue regeneration and modulation of the embryo-onco phenotype of cancer.
Keywords: AMPK; DNA methylation; acetyl-CoA; aging; dietary restriction; epigenetics; mTOR; pluripotent stem cells; regeneration.