Neuronal Regulation of Aging

The nervous system orchestrates whole-body homeostatic mechanisms by integrating extrinsic and intrinsic signals and communicating these to peripheral tissues. To date, much attention has been paid to the nervous system as a central regulator of metabolic homeostasis. However, despite a wealth of data linking metabolic processes to multiple facets of the aging process, neuronal mechanisms that regulate organismal aging itself are just coming into focus in both invertebrate and mammalian systems. A growing number of well-established longevity regulators, including dietary restriction (DR), sirtuins, insulin/IGF-like signaling (IIS), and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), are now known to act via neuronal mechanisms. As such, the nervous system is emerging as a crucial therapeutic target to combat age-related diseases and promote healthy aging. We study signals that link neuronal energy and nutrient sensing in the brain to systemic modulation of the rate of aging.