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Biogerontology. 2013 Apr;14(2):177-86. doi: 10.1007/s10522-013-9421-z. Epub 2013 Apr 10.

Common polymorphisms in nitric oxide synthase (NOS) genes influence quality of aging and longevity in humans.

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Department of Biology, Ecology and Earth Science, University of Calabria, 87036 Rende, Italy.


Nitric oxide (NO) triggers multiple signal transduction pathways and contributes to the control of numerous cellular functions. Previous studies have shown in model organisms that the alteration of NO production has important effects on aging and lifespan. We studied in a large sample (763 subjects, age range 19-107 years) the variability of the three human genes (NOS1, -2, -3) coding for the three isoforms of the NADPH-dependent enzymes named NO synthases (NOS) which are responsible of NO synthesis. We have then verified if the variability of these genes is associated with longevity, and with a number of geriatric parameters. We found that gene variation of NOS1 and NOS2 was associated with longevity. In addition NOS1 rs1879417 was also found to be associated with a lower cognitive performance, while NOS2 rs2297518 polymorphism showed to be associated with physical performance. Moreover, SNPs in the NOS1 and NOS3 genes were respectively associated with the presence of depression symptoms and disability, two of the main factors affecting quality of life in older individuals. On the whole, our study shows that genetic variability of NOS genes has an effect on common age related phenotypes and longevity in humans as well as previously reported for model organisms.

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