Items(s) added to your cart
Your cart is empty
Continue Shopping

9 hallmarks of aging: Loss of Proteostasis


As we journey deeper into the exploration of aging, we uncover yet another intriguing hallmark: loss of proteostasis. Just like unraveling the pages of a complex novel, each hallmark adds a layer to our understanding of the aging process. In our ongoing series, we have previously delved into genomic instability, telomere attrition, and epigenetic alterations. Now, let’s embark on the discovery of how our body’s ability to maintain protein balance plays a pivotal role in the aging narrative.

Picture a well-organized library where books are constantly being checked out and returned. In our cells, proteins are akin to these books, each with a specific role and function. However, over time, errors can occur. The loss of proteostasis refers to the decline in our body’s ability to maintain the proper balance of proteins—leading to a buildup of misfolded or damaged proteins.

To understand this phenomenon better, let’s envision a factory where proteins are manufactured with precision. As we age, the machinery responsible for protein folding and disposal may become less efficient. Misfolded proteins, akin to defective products, accumulate within the cell. This accumulation can trigger a cascade of events, contributing to cellular dysfunction and ultimately impacting tissue and organ function.

Research suggests that loss of proteostasis is implicated in various age-related diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s disease. In Alzheimer’s, for instance, the accumulation of misfolded proteins such as beta-amyloid and tau disrupts neuronal function, leading to cognitive decline.

So, what can we do to preserve proteostasis and potentially slow down the aging process? While we may not have all the answers, emerging studies offer promising insights. Regular exercise, a balanced diet rich in antioxidants, and maintaining a healthy weight are among the lifestyle factors that may help support protein homeostasis.

Furthermore, scientists are actively investigating interventions such as caloric restriction and pharmacological agents that target pathways involved in protein quality control. By enhancing our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying proteostasis, researchers aim to develop strategies to mitigate age-related protein imbalances and associated diseases.

As we continue our exploration of the nine hallmarks of aging, the loss of proteostasis underscores the intricate dance of molecular processes within our cells and highlights the importance of maintaining protein balance for healthy aging.

Reference: López-Otín C, Blasco MA, Partridge L, Serrano M, Kroemer G. The hallmarks of aging. Cell. 2013;153(6):1194-1217. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2013.05.039