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Ageing Res Rev. 2008 Jan;7(1):63-78. Epub 2007 Aug 31.

Hormesis in aging.

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  • Laboratory of Cellular Ageing, Department of Molecular Biology, University of Aarhus, Aarhus-C, Denmark. rattan@mb.au.dk

Abstract

Hormesis in aging is represented by mild stress-induced stimulation of protective mechanisms in cells and organisms resulting in biologically beneficial effects. Single or multiple exposure to low doses of otherwise harmful agents, such as irradiation, food limitation, heat stress, hypergravity, reactive oxygen species and other free radicals have a variety of anti-aging and longevity-extending hormetic effects. Detailed molecular mechanisms that bring about the hormetic effects are being increasingly understood, and comprise a cascade of stress response and other pathways of maintenance and repair. Although the extent of immediate hormetic effects after exposure to a particular stress may only be moderate, the chain of events following initial hormesis leads to biologically amplified effects that are much larger, synergistic and pleiotropic. A consequence of hormetic amplification is an increase in the homeodynamic space of a living system in terms of increased defence capacity and reduced load of damaged macromolecules. Hormetic strengthening of the homeodynamic space provides wider margins for metabolic fluctuation, stress tolerance, adaptation and survival. Hormesis thus counter-balances the progressive shrinkage of the homeodynamic space, which is the ultimate cause of aging, diseases and death. Healthy aging may be achieved by hormesis through mild and periodic, but not severe or chronic, physical and mental challenges, and by the use of nutritional hormesis incorporating mild stress-inducing molecules called hormetins. The established scientific foundations of hormesis are ready to pave the way for new and effective approaches in aging research and intervention.

PMID:
17964227
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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