, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 605–626 | Cite as

Genetic background, epigenetic factors and dietary interventions which influence human longevity

  • Dario CostaEmail author
  • Michele Scognamiglio
  • Carmela Fiorito
  • Giuditta Benincasa
  • Claudio Napoli
Review Article


Longevity is mainly conditioned by genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors. Different genetic modifications seem to be positively associated to longevity, including SNPs in SIRT1, APOE, FOXO3A, ACE, ATM, NOS1 and NOS2 gene. Epigenetic changes as DNA hyper- and hypo-methylation influence significantly human longevity by activating/deactivating different genes involved in physiological mechanisms. Several studies have confirmed that centenarians have a lower DNA methylation content compared to young subjects, which showed more homogeneously methylated DNA region. Also the up-regulation of miR-21 seems to be more associated with longevity in different populations of long-lived subjects, suggesting its role as potential epigenetic biomarkers. A non-pharmacological treatment that seems to contrast age-related diseases and promote longevity is represented by dietary intervention. It has been evaluated the effects of dietary restriction of both single nutrients or total calories to extend lifespan. However, in daily practice it is very difficult to guarantee adherence/compliance of the subjects to dietary restriction and at the same time avoid dangerous nutritional deficiencies. As consequence, the attention has focused on a variety of substances both drugs and natural compounds able to mime the beneficial effects of caloric restriction, including resveratrol, quercetin, rapamycin, metformin and 2-deoxy-d-glucose.


Longevity Genetic modification Epigenetic mechanism Dietary restriction Calorie restriction mimetic Longevity molecular biomarkers 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.U.O.C. of Clinical Immunology, Immunohematology, Transfusion Medicine and Transplant Immunology, Clinical Department of Internal Medicine and SpecialisticsUniversity of Campania “L. Vanvitelli”NaplesItaly
  2. 2.Department of Advanced Medical and Surgical SciencesUniversity of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”NaplesItaly

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