Molecular and biological hallmarks of ageing

The British Journal of Surgery
J R AunanK Søreide


Ageing is the inevitable time-dependent decline in physiological organ function that eventually leads to death. Age is a major risk factor for many of the most common medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. This study reviews currently known hallmarks of ageing and their clinical implications. A literature search of PubMed/MEDLINE was conducted covering the last decade. Average life expectancy has increased dramatically over the past century and is estimated to increase even further. Maximum longevity, however, appears unchanged, suggesting a universal limitation to the human organism. Understanding the underlying molecular processes of ageing and health decline may suggest interventions that, if used at an early age, can prevent, delay, alleviate or even reverse age-related diseases. Hallmarks of ageing can be grouped into three main categories. The primary hallmarks cause damage to cellular functions: genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alterations and loss of proteostasis. These are followed by antagonistic responses to such damage: deregulated nutrient sensing, altered mitochondrial function and cellular senescence. Finally, integrative hallmarks are poss...Continue Reading


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