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Concept: Degenerative disease


Aging is the main risk factor for many chronic degenerative diseases and cancer. Increased senescent cell burden in various tissues is a major contributor to aging and age-related diseases. Recently, a new class of drugs termed senolytics were demonstrated to extending healthspan, reducing frailty and improving stem cell function in multiple murine models of aging. To identify novel and more optimal senotherapeutic drugs and combinations, we established a senescence associated β-galactosidase assay as a screening platform to rapidly identify drugs that specifically affect senescent cells. We used primary Ercc1 (-/-) murine embryonic fibroblasts with reduced DNA repair capacity, which senesce rapidly if grown at atmospheric oxygen. This platform was used to screen a small library of compounds that regulate autophagy, identifying two inhibitors of the HSP90 chaperone family as having significant senolytic activity in mouse and human cells. Treatment of Ercc1 (-/∆) mice, a mouse model of a human progeroid syndrome, with the HSP90 inhibitor 17-DMAG extended healthspan, delayed the onset of several age-related symptoms and reduced p16(INK4a) expression. These results demonstrate the utility of our screening platform to identify senotherapeutic agents as well as identified HSP90 inhibitors as a promising new class of senolytic drugs.The accumulation of senescent cells is thought to contribute to the age-associated decline in tissue function. Here, the authors identify HSP90 inhibitors as a new class of senolytic compounds in an in vitro screening and show that administration of a HSP90 inhibitor reduces age-related symptoms in progeroid mice.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Cancer, Senescence, Cell division, Degenerative disease, Degenerative disc disease, Progeria


Due to their capacity to self-renew, proliferate and generate multi-lineage cells, adult-derived stem cells offer great potential for use in regenerative therapies to stop and/or reverse degenerative diseases such as diabetes, heart failure, Alzheimer’s disease and others. However, these subsets of cells can be isolated from different niches, each with differing potential for therapeutic applications. The stromal vascular fraction (SVF), a stem cell enriched and adipose-derived cell population, has garnered interest as a therapeutic in regenerative medicine due to its ability to secrete paracrine factors that accelerate endogenous repair, ease of accessibility and lack of identified major adverse effects. Thus, one can easily understand the rush to employ adipose-derived SVF to treat human disease. Perhaps faster than any other cell preparation, SVF is making its way to clinics worldwide, while critical preclinical research needed to establish SVF safety, efficacy and optimal, standardized clinical procedures are underway. Here, we will provide an overview of the current knowledge driving this phenomenon, its regulatory issues and existing studies, and propose potential unmapped applications. Stem Cells Translational Medicine 2017;6:1096-1108.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Medicine, Cell, Disease, Infectious disease, Cell division, Stem cell, Degenerative disease


The aberrant accumulation of toxic protein aggregates is a key feature of many neurodegenerative diseases, including Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. As such, improving normal proteostatic mechanisms is an active target for biomedical research. Although they share common pathological features, protein aggregates form in different subcellular locations. Nε-lysine acetylation in the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum has recently emerged as a new mechanism to regulate the induction of autophagy. The endoplasmic reticulum acetylation machinery includes AT-1/SLC33A1, a membrane transporter that translocates acetyl-CoA from the cytosol into the endoplasmic reticulum lumen, and ATase1 and ATase2, two acetyltransferases that acetylate endoplasmic reticulum cargo proteins. Here, we used a mutant form of α-synuclein to show that inhibition of the endoplasmic reticulum acetylation machinery specifically improves autophagy-mediated disposal of toxic protein aggregates that form within the secretory pathway, but not those that form in the cytosol. Consequently, haploinsufficiency of AT-1/SLC33A1 in the mouse rescued Alzheimer’s disease, but not Huntington’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In fact, intracellular toxic protein aggregates in Alzheimer’s disease form within the secretory pathway while in Huntington’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis they form in different cellular compartments. Furthermore, biochemical inhibition of ATase1 and ATase2 was also able to rescue the Alzheimer’s disease phenotype in a mouse model of the disease. Specifically, we observed reduced levels of soluble amyloid-β aggregates, reduced amyloid-β pathology, reduced phosphorylation of tau, improved synaptic plasticity, and increased lifespan of the animals. In conclusion, our results indicate that Nε-lysine acetylation in the endoplasmic reticulum lumen regulates normal proteostasis of the secretory pathway; they also support therapies targeting endoplasmic reticulum acetyltransferases, ATase1 and ATase2, for a subset of chronic degenerative diseases.

Concepts: Gene, Endoplasmic reticulum, Degenerative disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Neurodegenerative disorders, Dementia, Excitotoxicity, Protein targeting


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and osteoporosis are two closely related multifactorial progressively degenerative diseases that predominantly affect aged people. These two diseases share many common risk factors, including old age, being female, smoking, excessive drinking, low estrogen, and vitamin D3 levels. Additionally, oxidative damage and the dysfunction of the antioxidant system play important roles in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis and AD. Aβ not only leads to impaired memory but also plays a crucial role in the demineralization process of bone tissues of older people and women with menopause. Curculigoside can promote calcium deposition and increase the levels of ALP and Runx2 in osteoblasts under oxidative stress via anti-oxidative character. Therefore, we investigated the effects of CUR on the spatial learning and memory by the Morris water maze and brain immunohistochemistry, and bone microstructure and material properties of femurs by micro-computed tomography and mechanical testing in APP/PS1 mutated transgenic mice. Oral administration of CUR can significantly enhance learning performance and ameliorate bone loss in APP/PS1 mutated transgenic mice, and the mechanism may be related to its antioxidant effect. Based on these results, CUR has real potential as a new natural resource for developing medicines or dietary supplements for the prevention and treatment of the two closely linked multifactorial progressive degenerative disorders, AD and osteoporosis.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Osteoporosis, Bone, Vitamin D, Antioxidant, Oxidative stress, Oxidative phosphorylation, Degenerative disease


The molecular processes that contribute to degenerative diseases are not well understood. Recent observations suggest that some degenerative diseases are promoted by the accumulation of nuclear or cytoplasmic RNA-protein (RNP) aggregates, which can be related to endogenous RNP granules. RNP aggregates arise commonly in degenerative diseases because RNA-binding proteins commonly self-assemble, in part through prion-like domains, which can form self-propagating amyloids. RNP aggregates may be toxic due to multiple perturbations of posttranscriptional control, thereby disrupting the normal “ribostasis” of the cell. This suggests that understanding and modulating RNP assembly or clearance may be effective approaches to developing therapies for these diseases.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Cell nucleus, Cell, Cytoplasm, Degenerative disease, The Normal, Knowledge


The retinal degenerative diseases, which together constitute a leading cause of hereditary blindness worldwide, are largely untreatable. Development of reliable methods to culture complex retinal tissues from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) could offer a means to study human retinal development, provide a platform to investigate the mechanisms of retinal degeneration and screen for neuroprotective compounds, and provide the basis for cell-based therapeutic strategies. In this study, we describe an in vitro method by which hPSCs can be differentiated into 3D retinas with at least some important features reminiscent of a mature retina, including exuberant outgrowth of outer segment-like structures and synaptic ribbons, photoreceptor neurotransmitter expression, and membrane conductances and synaptic vesicle release properties consistent with possible photoreceptor synaptic function. The advanced outer segment-like structures reported here support the notion that 3D retina cups could serve as a model for studying mature photoreceptor development and allow for more robust modeling of retinal degenerative disease in vitro.

Concepts: Neuron, Developmental biology, Stem cell, Cell biology, Degenerative disease, Retina, Degenerative disc disease, Pluripotency


Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and their receptor have been implicated in the progressions of many intractable diseases, such as diabetes and atherosclerosis, and are also critical for pathologic changes in chronic degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and alcoholic brain damage. Recently activated macrophages were found to be a source of AGEs, and the most abundant form of AGEs, AGE-albumin excreted by macrophages has been implicated in these diseases and to act through common pathways. AGEs inhibition has been shown to prevent the pathogenesis of AGEs-related diseases in human, and therapeutic advances have resulted in several agents that prevent their adverse effects. Recently, anti-inflammatory molecules that inhibit AGEs have been shown to be good candidates for ameliorating diabetic complications as well as degenerative diseases. This review was undertaken to present, discuss, and clarify current understanding regarding AGEs formation in association with macrophages, different diseases, therapeutic and diagnostic strategy and links with RAGE inhibition.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Immune system, Medicine, Disease, Degenerative disease, Neurology, Parkinson's disease, Degenerative disc disease


Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative disease that affects the articular cartilage. Recent studies have demonstrated that lithium chloride exhibits significant efficacy as a chondroprotective agent, blocking cartilage degradation in response to inflammatory cytokines. However, conflicting literature suggests lithium may affect the physicochemical properties of articular cartilage and thus long- term exposure may negatively affect the mechanical functionality of this tissue. This study aims to investigate the effect of lithium chloride on the biomechanical properties of healthy and interleukin-1β treated cartilage in vitro and examines the consequences of long-term exposure to lithium on cartilage health in vivo. Bovine cartilage explants were treated with lithium chloride for 12 days. Chondrocyte viability, matrix catabolism and the biomechanical properties of bovine cartilage explants were not significantly altered following treatment. Consistent with these findings, long term-exposure (9 months) to dietary lithium did not induce osteoarthritis in rats, as determined by histological staining. Moreover, lithium chloride did not induce the expression of catabolic enzymes in human articular chondrocytes. In an inflammatory model of cartilage destruction, lithium chloride blocked interleukin-1β signalling in the form of nitric oxide and prostaglandin E2 release and prevented matrix catabolism such that the loss of mechanical integrity observed with interleukin-1β alone was inhibited. This study provides further support for lithium chloride as a novel compound for the treatment of osteoarthritis. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: In vivo, Cartilage, Degenerative disease, In vitro, Biomechanics, Autologous chondrocyte implantation, Chondrocyte, Copyright


Amyloid fibril formation by proteins leads to variety of degenerative disorders called amyloidosis. While these disorders are topic of extensive research, effective treatments are still unavailable. Thus in present study, two anti-tuberculosis drugs, i.e., pyrazinamide (PYZ) and D-cycloserine (DCS), also known for treatment for Alzheimer’s dementia, were checked for the anti-aggregation and anti-amyloidogenic ability on Aβ-42 peptide and hen egg white lysozyme. Results demonstrated that both drugs inhibit the heat induced aggregation; however, PYZ was more potent and decelerated the nucleation phase as observed from various spectroscopic and microscopic techniques. Furthermore, pre-formed amyloid fibrils incubated with these drugs also increased the PC12/SH-SY5Y cell viability as compare to the amyloid fibrils alone; however, the increase was more pronounced for PYZ as confirmed by MTT assay. Additionally, molecular docking study suggested that the greater inhibitory potential of PYZ as compare to DCS may be due to strong binding affinity and more occupancy of hydrophobic patches of HEWL, which is known to form the core of the protein fibrils.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Protein, Protein structure, Molecular biology, Degenerative disease, Peptide, Amyloid, Neurology


Exercise is the greatest physiological stress that our bodies experience. For example, during maximal endurance exercise in elite athlete’s cardiac output can increase up to 8-fold and the working muscles receive 21-times more blood each minute than at rest. Given the physiological stress associated with exercise and the adaptations that occur to handle this stress, it is not surprising that exercise training is known to prevent or effectively treat a multitude of degenerative conditions including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and many others. Many of the health benefits of exercise are mediated by the mammalian/mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), either in complex 1 or 2, not only within the working muscle, but also in distant tissues such as fat, liver, and brain. This review will discuss how exercise activates mTOR in diverse tissues and the ways that mTOR is important in the adaptive response that makes us bigger, stronger, and healthier as a result of exercise.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Medicine, Health insurance, Heart, Muscle, Degenerative disease, Parkinson's disease, Dementia