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Biogerontology. 2008 Apr;9(2):119-33. doi: 10.1007/s10522-007-9122-6. Epub 2008 Jan 4.

Rapid increase in human life expectancy: will it soon be limited by the aging of elastin?

Author information

1
Laboratoire de recherche ophtalmologique, Hôpital Hôtel Dieu, 1 place du parvis Notre Dame, 75181, Paris cedex 04, France.

Abstract

The postponement of the most frequent age-related diseases stimulated speculations of the possibility of "dying of old age". The selective decline of individual physiological functions-aging in spare-parts-indicates however the potential limitation of the life-span by the rapid decline of some of the vital parameters. We explored a possibility of such a limitation of maximal life-span by the age-related alteration of elastin, consisting in Ca-accumulation, lipid deposition and elastolytic degradation. The quantitative evaluation of these processes suggests an approximative upper limit for the elastic properties of the cardio-respiratory system of about 100-120 years, at least, as far as elastin is involved. This process, age-related alterations of elastic fibers, is however not the only one limiting the functional value of the cardiovascular system. Crosslinking of collagen fibers by advanced glycation end-products certainly contributes also to the age-dependent rigidification of the cardiovascular system. Therefore the answer to the initial question, can age-dependent alterations of a single matrix macromolecule be limiting such vital functions as the cardio-respiratory system-is a cautious yes, with however the caveat that other, independent mechanisms, such as the Maillard reaction, can also interfere with and limit further the functional value of such vital physiological functions.

PMID:
18175202
DOI:
10.1007/s10522-007-9122-6
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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