Recent statistics indicate that the human population is ageing rapidly. Healthy, but also diseased, elderly people are increasing. This trend is particularly evident in Western countries, where healthier living conditions and better cures are available. To understand the process leading to age-associated alterations is, therefore, of the highest relevance for the development of new treatments for age-associated diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer and cardiovascular accidents. Mechanistically, it is well accepted that the accumulation of intracellular damage determined by reactive oxygen species (ROS) might orchestrate the progressive loss of control over biological homeostasis and the functional impairment typical of aged tissues. Here, we review how epigenetics takes part in the control of stress stimuli and the mechanisms of ageing physiology and physiopathology. Alteration of epigenetic enzyme activity, histone modifications and DNA-methylation is, in fact, typically associated with the ageing process. Specifically, ageing presents peculiar epigenetic markers that, taken altogether, form the still ill-defined "ageing epigenome". The comprehension of mechanisms and pathways leading to epigenetic modifications associated with ageing may help the development of anti-ageing therapies.
- Oxidative stress
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computer Science Applications
- Molecular Biology
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry