Theories and Mechanisms of Aging

  • Christian BehlEmail author
  • Christine Ziegler
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Molecular Medicine book series (BRIEFSMOME)


The more one learns about single processes and genes known to be involved in aging, the more it becomes evident that these are connected and there is no unifying theory of aging. The individual theories put individual factors and processes in focus and for each theory there are direct links to life span or to age-related disorders. In the following chapter, the key theories of aging focusing on telomeres, DNA damage, oxidative stress as well as possible roles of nutrition, the interplay between genes and environment (epigenetics) and cellular protein homeostasis are presented. In animal models the life span can be altered by targeting specific genes, proteins and signalling pathways. After reviewing all these different mechanisms and factors obviously involved in the aging process of cells and organisms it becomes clear that aging is a multifactorial process where various intimate mutual interactions can be identified. Consequently, at the end of this chapter the idea of a molecular aging matrix composed of the major players affecting and triggering the aging process is developed.


Theories of aging Telomeres DNA damage DNA repair Sirtuins Caloric restriction Life span extension Oxidative stress Protein homeostasis Epigenetics Molecular aging matrix 


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© The Author(s) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for PathobiochemistryUniversity Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University MainzMainzGermany

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