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WHAT WE USUALLY STUDY WHEN WE THINK WE STUDY AGING

Khokhlov A.N.
Evolutionary Cytogerontology Sector, School of Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia; Данный адрес e-mail защищен от спам-ботов, Вам необходимо включить Javascript для его просмотра.

The considerably increased recently interest in experimental-gerontological research has led to a paradoxical situation: although more and more papers in the field appear, only a small part of them is really devoted to the study of mechanisms of aging.  In my opinion, it is determined, inter alia, by the following circumstances: 1) As a rule, the classical definition of aging as a set of age-related changes, leading to an increase in the probability of death of organism is ignored. 2) The focus is placed upon achieving a longer life span, although it often has nothing to do with the impact on the aging process (in particular, quite successfully, you can increase life span of non-aging organisms; at the same time, the presence of aging does not necessarily indicate a low longevity). 3) Animals with certain abnormalities (like genetic disorders), increasing the probability of their death, are used as control, so any remedy against these pathologies lead to prolongation of life. 4) Too much importance is attached to an increase in average life span, which is largely determined by factors in no way related to aging. 5) Increasingly, gerontological experiments are conducted on model systems that allow obtaining only indirect information about the mechanisms of aging, the interpretation of which depends strongly on the fundamental concept to which the specific researchers adhere. Unfortunately, the above also applies to cytogerontological studies that became extremely popular in recent decades. In particular, many of the conclusions reached earlier on the basis of the results of experiments conducted on Hayflick's model (aging in vitro), were subsequently found to be wrong. In addition, our cytogerontological studies of various anti-aging factors with the help of the "stationary phase aging" model, the cell kinetics model and assessment of colony-forming ability, have shown that in very many cases the factors studied have no beneficial effect on the viability of cultured cells, although they prolong life in experimental animals and increase the well-being of humans. This allowed us to assume that, in many cases, the anti-aging agent action appears only at the organism level, and is not limited to just improving the viability of some of its constituent cells.

 

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