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Exp Gerontol. 2011 Feb-Mar;46(2-3):155-63. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2010.08.030. Epub 2010 Sep 16.

TOR on the brain.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


Signaling by target of rapamycin (mTOR in mammals) has been shown to modulate lifespan in several model organisms ranging from yeast to mice. In mice, reduced mTOR signaling by chronic rapamycin treatment leads to life span extension, raising the possibility that rapamycin and its analogs may benefit the aging brain and serve as effective treatments of age-related neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we review mTOR signaling and how neurons utilize mTOR to regulate brain function, including regulation of feeding, synaptic plasticity and memory formation. Additionally, we discuss recent findings that evaluate the mechanisms by which reduced mTOR activity might benefit the aging brain in normal and pathological states. We will focus on recent studies investigating mTOR and Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and polyglutamine expansion syndromes such as Huntington's disease.

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