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Recruiting adaptive cellular stress responses for successful brain ageing

Abstract

Successful ageing is determined in part by genetic background, but also by experiential factors associated with lifestyle and culture. Dietary, behavioural and pharmacological interventions have been identified as potential means to slow brain ageing and forestall neurodegenerative disease. Many of these interventions recruit adaptive cellular stress responses to strengthen neuronal networks and enhance plasticity. In this Science and Society article, we describe several determinants of healthy and pathological brain ageing, with insights into how these processes are accelerated or prevented. We also describe the mechanisms underlying the neuroprotective actions of exercise and nutritional interventions, with the goal of recruiting these molecular targets for the treatment and prevention of neurodegenerative disease.

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Figure 1: Intrinsic features of normal and pathological ageing.
Figure 2: Adaptive cellular stress response signalling mediates the beneficial effects of environmental challenges on neuroplasticity and vulnerability to degeneration.
Figure 3: Potential for mechanistic synergy between exercise and pharmacological treatments designed to maintain cognition in an ageing population.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Aging.

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Stranahan, A., Mattson, M. Recruiting adaptive cellular stress responses for successful brain ageing. Nat Rev Neurosci 13, 209–216 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn3151

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