Network theory of aging

Exp Gerontol. 1997 Jul-Oct;32(4-5):395-9. doi: 10.1016/s0531-5565(96)00171-4.


Evolution theory indicates that investment in mechanisms of somatic maintenance and repair is likely to be limited, suggesting that aging may result from the accumulation of unrepaired somatic defects. An important corollary of this hypothesis is that multiple mechanisms of aging operate in parallel. We describe a recently developed "network theory of aging" that integrates the contributions of defective mitochondria, aberrant proteins, and free radicals in the aging process and that includes the protective effects of antioxidant enzymes and proteolytic scavengers. Possibilities for further extension of the theory and its role in prediction and simulation of experimental results are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Free Radical Scavengers / metabolism
  • Free Radicals / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / physiology
  • Models, Biological*
  • Proteins / physiology


  • Antioxidants
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Free Radicals
  • Proteins