MECHANISMS IN ENDOCRINOLOGY: Aging and anti-aging: a Combo-Endocrinology overview
Aging and its underlying pathophysiological background has always attracted the attention of the scientific society. Defined as the gradual, time-dependent, heterogeneous decline of physiological functions, aging is orchestrated by a plethora of molecular mechanisms, which vividly interact to alter body homeostasis. The ability of an organism to adjust to these alterations, in conjunction with the dynamic effect of various environmental stimuli across lifespan, promotes longevity, frailty or disease. Endocrine function undergoes major changes during aging, as well. Specifically, alterations in hormonal networks and concomitant hormonal deficits/excess, augmented by poor sensitivity of tissues to their action, take place. As hypothalamic–pituitary unit is the central regulator of crucial body functions, these alterations can be translated in significant clinical sequelae that can impair the quality of life and promote frailty and disease. Delineating the hormonal signaling alterations that occur across lifespan and exploring possible remedial interventions could possibly help us improve the quality of life of the elderly and promote longevity.
Endocrine system undergoes major alterations during aging, affecting the majority of body function. Many of these changes have been so far well described, but their exact impact on health and disease remains unknown. Furthermore, it is important to differentiate, which of these aging-associated alterations constitute beneficial, physiological adjustments of human body to environmental stimuli and to the aging process itself and which alterations are actually harmful to cell viability. This would further help us develop targeted medical interventions, with long-term hormonal replacement/blockade with one or more hormones that would promote longevity. As life expectancy increases, it is important not to accept the brutal stereotype that aging is unavoidable, delineate the pathophysiology of aging and take advantage of longevity pathways in order to allow us live not only longer but also with the best quality of life.