The Orderly Decay of Order in the Regulation of Aging Processes

  • Caleb E. Finch
Part of the Life Science Monographs book series (LSMO)


Processes of aging are discussed in a comparative context, with emphasis on reproductive neuroendocrine functions of mammals. Two general hypotheses of aging are discussed. The first proposes that aging results from processes intrinsic to each cell, which may involve mutations and other types of random macromolecular damage. The second proposes that aging in the organism is regulated by factors extrinsic to most cells, such as hormones. The present evidence is interpreted to argue against random damage as a major factor in mammalian aging, since some aging changes can be manipulated by hormones or diet. The dissociability of chronological and physiological age by experimental manipulations suggests that biological senescence in some organisms mainly involves changes that are “event-dependent” rather that “age-dependent.” Then, the temporal plasticity of some developmental and aging processes is compared to heterochronic changes during evolution, in which changes in the timing of developmental events are viewed as major substrates for evolutionary change. Knowledge of the genetic loci that control developmental timing may give insights into controls on the timing of age changes. —The Editor


Aging Process Estrous Cycle Brain Weight Ovarian Steroid Luteinizing Hormone Surge 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caleb E. Finch
    • 1
  1. 1.Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center and Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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