Publications by authors named "Tom B L Kirkwood"

11 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Oxidative stress and life histories: unresolved issues and current needs.

Ecol Evol 2015 12 17;5(24):5745-57. Epub 2015 Nov 17.

Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine University of Glasgow Graham Kerr Building Glasgow G12 8QQ UK.

Life-history theory concerns the trade-offs that mold the patterns of investment by animals between reproduction, growth, and survival. It is widely recognized that physiology plays a role in the mediation of life-history trade-offs, but the details remain obscure. As life-history theory concerns aspects of investment in the soma that influence survival, understanding the physiological basis of life histories is related, but not identical, to understanding the process of aging. One idea from the field of aging that has gained considerable traction in the area of life histories is that life-history trade-offs may be mediated by free radical production and oxidative stress. We outline here developments in this field and summarize a number of important unresolved issues that may guide future research efforts. The issues are as follows. First, different tissues and macromolecular targets of oxidative stress respond differently during reproduction. The functional significance of these changes, however, remains uncertain. Consequently there is a need for studies that link oxidative stress measurements to functional outcomes, such as survival. Second, measurements of oxidative stress are often highly invasive or terminal. Terminal studies of oxidative stress in wild animals, where detailed life-history information is available, cannot generally be performed without compromising the aims of the studies that generated the life-history data. There is a need therefore for novel non-invasive measurements of multi-tissue oxidative stress. Third, laboratory studies provide unrivaled opportunities for experimental manipulation but may fail to expose the physiology underpinning life-history effects, because of the benign laboratory environment. Fourth, the idea that oxidative stress might underlie life-history trade-offs does not make specific enough predictions that are amenable to testing. Moreover, there is a paucity of good alternative theoretical models on which contrasting predictions might be based. Fifth, there is an enormous diversity of life-history variation to test the idea that oxidative stress may be a key mediator. So far we have only scratched the surface. Broadening the scope may reveal new strategies linked to the processes of oxidative damage and repair. Finally, understanding the trade-offs in life histories and understanding the process of aging are related but not identical questions. Scientists inhabiting these two spheres of activity seldom collide, yet they have much to learn from each other.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.1790DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4717350PMC
December 2015

Detecting translational regulation by change point analysis of ribosome profiling data sets.

RNA 2014 Oct 21;20(10):1507-18. Epub 2014 Aug 21.

Centre for Integrated Systems Biology of Ageing and Nutrition, Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE4 5PL, United Kingdom

Ribo-Seq maps the location of translating ribosomes on mature mRNA transcripts. While during normal translation, ribosome density is constant along the length of the mRNA coding region, this can be altered in response to translational regulatory events. In the present study, we developed a method to detect translational regulation of individual mRNAs from their ribosome profiles, utilizing changes in ribosome density. We used mathematical modeling to show that changes in ribosome density should occur along the mRNA at the point of regulation. We analyzed a Ribo-Seq data set obtained for mouse embryonic stem cells and showed that normalization by corresponding RNA-Seq can be used to improve the Ribo-Seq quality by removing bias introduced by deep-sequencing and alignment artifacts. After normalization, we applied a change point algorithm to detect changes in ribosome density present in individual mRNA ribosome profiles. Additional sequence and gene isoform information obtained from the UCSC Genome Browser allowed us to further categorize the detected changes into different mechanisms of regulation. In particular, we detected several mRNAs with known post-transcriptional regulation, e.g., premature termination for selenoprotein mRNAs and translational control of Atf4, but also several more mRNAs with hitherto unknown translational regulation. Additionally, our approach proved useful for identification of new transcript isoforms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1261/rna.045286.114DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4174433PMC
October 2014

The co-occurrence of mtDNA mutations on different oxidative phosphorylation subunits, not detected by haplogroup analysis, affects human longevity and is population specific.

Aging Cell 2014 Jun 17;13(3):401-7. Epub 2013 Dec 17.

BioPhysics and Biocomplexity and Department of Experimental Pathology, C.I. G. Interdepartmental Centre L. Galvani for Integrated Studies on Bioinformatics, University of Bologna, Bologna, 40126, Italy.

To re-examine the correlation between mtDNA variability and longevity, we examined mtDNAs from samples obtained from over 2200 ultranonagenarians (and an equal number of controls) collected within the framework of the GEHA EU project. The samples were categorized by high-resolution classification, while about 1300 mtDNA molecules (650 ultranonagenarians and an equal number of controls) were completely sequenced. Sequences, unlike standard haplogroup analysis, made possible to evaluate for the first time the cumulative effects of specific, concomitant mtDNA mutations, including those that per se have a low, or very low, impact. In particular, the analysis of the mutations occurring in different OXPHOS complex showed a complex scenario with a different mutation burden in 90+ subjects with respect to controls. These findings suggested that mutations in subunits of the OXPHOS complex I had a beneficial effect on longevity, while the simultaneous presence of mutations in complex I and III (which also occurs in J subhaplogroups involved in LHON) and in complex I and V seemed to be detrimental, likely explaining previous contradictory results. On the whole, our study, which goes beyond haplogroup analysis, suggests that mitochondrial DNA variation does affect human longevity, but its effect is heavily influenced by the interaction between mutations concomitantly occurring on different mtDNA genes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/acel.12186DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4326891PMC
June 2014

Genome-wide linkage analysis for human longevity: Genetics of Healthy Aging Study.

Aging Cell 2013 Apr 6;12(2):184-93. Epub 2013 Feb 6.

Molecular Epidemiology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, ZC, 2333, The Netherlands.

Clear evidence exists for heritability of human longevity, and much interest is focused on identifying genes associated with longer lives. To identify such longevity alleles, we performed the largest genome-wide linkage scan thus far reported. Linkage analyses included 2118 nonagenarian Caucasian sibling pairs that have been enrolled in 15 study centers of 11 European countries as part of the Genetics of Healthy Aging (GEHA) project. In the joint linkage analyses, we observed four regions that show linkage with longevity; chromosome 14q11.2 (LOD = 3.47), chromosome 17q12-q22 (LOD = 2.95), chromosome 19p13.3-p13.11 (LOD = 3.76), and chromosome 19q13.11-q13.32 (LOD = 3.57). To fine map these regions linked to longevity, we performed association analysis using GWAS data in a subgroup of 1228 unrelated nonagenarian and 1907 geographically matched controls. Using a fixed-effect meta-analysis approach, rs4420638 at the TOMM40/APOE/APOC1 gene locus showed significant association with longevity (P-value = 9.6 × 10(-8) ). By combined modeling of linkage and association, we showed that association of longevity with APOEε4 and APOEε2 alleles explain the linkage at 19q13.11-q13.32 with P-value = 0.02 and P-value = 1.0 × 10(-5) , respectively. In the largest linkage scan thus far performed for human familial longevity, we confirm that the APOE locus is a longevity gene and that additional longevity loci may be identified at 14q11.2, 17q12-q22, and 19p13.3-p13.11. As the latter linkage results are not explained by common variants, we suggest that rare variants play an important role in human familial longevity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/acel.12039DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3725963PMC
April 2013

Evolution of the mitochondrial fusion-fission cycle and its role in aging.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2011 Jun 6;108(25):10237-42. Epub 2011 Jun 6.

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institute for Biology, Theoretical Biophysics, 10115 Berlin, Germany.

Mitochondria are organelles of eukaryotic cells that contain their own genetic material and evolved from prokaryotic ancestors some 2 billion years ago. They are the main source of the cell's energy supply and are involved in such important processes as apoptosis, mitochondrial diseases, and aging. During recent years it also became apparent that mitochondria display a complex dynamical behavior of fission and fusion, the function of which is as yet unknown. In this paper we develop a concise theory that explains why fusion and fission have evolved, how these processes are related to the accumulation of mitochondrial mutants during aging, why the mitochondrial DNA has to be located close to the respiration complexes where most radicals are generated, and what selection pressures shaped the slightly different structure of animal and plant mitochondria. We believe that this "organelle control" theory will help in understanding key processes involved in the evolution of the mitochondrial genome and the aging process.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1101604108DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3121810PMC
June 2011

Capability and dependency in the Newcastle 85+ cohort study. Projections of future care needs.

BMC Geriatr 2011 May 4;11:21. Epub 2011 May 4.

Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University, Campus for Ageing and Vitality, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 5PL UK.

Background: Little is known of the capabilities of the oldest old, the fastest growing age group in the population. We aimed to estimate capability and dependency in a cohort of 85 year olds and to project future demand for care.

Methods: Structured interviews at age 85 with 841 people born in 1921 and living in Newcastle and North Tyneside, UK who were permanently registered with participating general practices. Measures of capability included were self-reported activities of daily living (ADL), timed up and go test (TUG), standardised mini-mental state examination (SMMSE), and assessment of urinary continence in order to classify interval-need dependency. To project future demand for care the proportion needing 24-hour care was applied to the 2008 England and Wales population projections of those aged 80 years and over by gender.

Results: Of participants, 62% (522/841) were women, 77% (651/841) lived in standard housing, 13% (106/841) in sheltered housing and 10% (84/841) in a care home. Overall, 20% (165/841) reported no difficulty with any of the ADLs. Men were more capable in performing ADLs and more independent than women. TUG validated self-reported ADLs. When classified by 'interval of need' 41% (332/810) were independent, 39% (317/810) required help less often than daily, 12% (94/810) required help at regular times of the day and 8% (67/810) required 24-hour care. Of care-home residents, 94% (77/82) required daily help or 24-hour care. Future need for 24-hour care for people aged 80 years or over in England and Wales is projected to increase by 82% from 2010 to 2030 with a demand for 630,000 care-home places by 2030.

Conclusions: This analysis highlights the diversity of capability and levels of dependency in this cohort. A remarkably high proportion remain independent, particularly men. However a significant proportion of this population require 24-hour care at home or in care homes. Projections for the next 20 years suggest substantial increases in the number requiring 24-hour care due to population ageing and a proportionate increase in demand for care-home places unless innovative health and social care interventions are found.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2318-11-21DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3097155PMC
May 2011

Superoxide dismutase downregulation in osteoarthritis progression and end-stage disease.

Ann Rheum Dis 2010 Aug 28;69(8):1502-10. Epub 2010 May 28.

Musculoskeletal Research Group, Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK.

Background: Oxidative stress is proposed as an important factor in osteoarthritis (OA).

Objective: To investigate the expression of the three superoxide dismutase (SOD) antioxidant enzymes in OA.

Methods: SOD expression was determined by real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry using human femoral head cartilage. SOD2 expression in Dunkin-Hartley guinea pig knee articular cartilage was determined by immunohistochemistry. The DNA methylation status of the SOD2 promoter was determined using bisulphite sequencing. RNA interference was used to determine the consequence of SOD2 depletion on the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) using MitoSOX and collagenases, matrix metalloproteinase 1 (MMP-1) and MMP-13, gene expression.

Results: All three SOD were abundantly expressed in human cartilage but were markedly downregulated in end-stage OA cartilage, especially SOD2. In the Dunkin-Hartley guinea pig spontaneous OA model, SOD2 expression was decreased in the medial tibial condyle cartilage before, and after, the development of OA-like lesions. The SOD2 promoter had significant DNA methylation alterations in OA cartilage. Depletion of SOD2 in chondrocytes increased ROS but decreased collagenase expression.

Conclusion: This is the first comprehensive expression profile of all SOD genes in cartilage and, importantly, using an animal model, it has been shown that a reduction in SOD2 is associated with the earliest stages of OA. A decrease in SOD2 was found to be associated with an increase in ROS but a reduction of collagenase gene expression, demonstrating the complexities of ROS function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/ard.2009.119966DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3789136PMC
August 2010

Feedback between p21 and reactive oxygen production is necessary for cell senescence.

Mol Syst Biol 2010 16;6:347. Epub 2010 Feb 16.

Ageing Research Laboratories, Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

Cellular senescence--the permanent arrest of cycling in normally proliferating cells such as fibroblasts--contributes both to age-related loss of mammalian tissue homeostasis and acts as a tumour suppressor mechanism. The pathways leading to establishment of senescence are proving to be more complex than was previously envisaged. Combining in-silico interactome analysis and functional target gene inhibition, stochastic modelling and live cell microscopy, we show here that there exists a dynamic feedback loop that is triggered by a DNA damage response (DDR) and, which after a delay of several days, locks the cell into an actively maintained state of 'deep' cellular senescence. The essential feature of the loop is that long-term activation of the checkpoint gene CDKN1A (p21) induces mitochondrial dysfunction and production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) through serial signalling through GADD45-MAPK14(p38MAPK)-GRB2-TGFBR2-TGFbeta. These ROS in turn replenish short-lived DNA damage foci and maintain an ongoing DDR. We show that this loop is both necessary and sufficient for the stability of growth arrest during the establishment of the senescent phenotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/msb.2010.5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835567PMC
May 2010

The mental wealth of nations.

Nature 2008 Oct;455(7216):1057-60

Government Office for Science, London.

Countries must learn how to capitalize on their citizens' cognitive resources if they are to prosper, both economically and socially. Early interventions will be key.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/4551057aDOI Listing
October 2008

Genetics of healthy aging in Europe: the EU-integrated project GEHA (GEnetics of Healthy Aging).

Ann N Y Acad Sci 2007 Apr;1100:21-45

C.I.G.-Interdepartmental Centre "L.Galvani," University of Bologna, Via S. Giacomo 12, 40126 Bologna, Italy.

The aim of the 5-year European Union (EU)-Integrated Project GEnetics of Healthy Aging (GEHA), constituted by 25 partners (24 from Europe plus the Beijing Genomics Institute from China), is to identify genes involved in healthy aging and longevity, which allow individuals to survive to advanced old age in good cognitive and physical function and in the absence of major age-related diseases. To achieve this aim a coherent, tightly integrated program of research that unites demographers, geriatricians, geneticists, genetic epidemiologists, molecular biologists, bioinfomaticians, and statisticians has been set up. The working plan is to: (a) collect DNA and information on the health status from an unprecedented number of long-lived 90+ sibpairs (n = 2650) and of younger ethnically matched controls (n = 2650) from 11 European countries; (b) perform a genome-wide linkage scannning in all the sibpairs (a total of 5300 individuals); this investigation will be followed by linkage disequilibrium mapping (LD mapping) of the candidate chromosomal regions; (c) study in cases (i.e., the 2650 probands of the sibpairs) and controls (2650 younger people), genomic regions (chromosome 4, D4S1564, chromosome 11, 11.p15.5) which were identified in previous studies as possible candidates to harbor longevity genes; (d) genotype all recruited subjects for apoE polymorphisms; and (e) genotype all recruited subjects for inherited as well as epigenetic variability of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). The genetic analysis will be performed by 9 high-throughput platforms, within the framework of centralized databases for phenotypic, genetic, and mtDNA data. Additional advanced approaches (bioinformatics, advanced statistics, mathematical modeling, functional genomics and proteomics, molecular biology, molecular genetics) are envisaged to identify the gene variant(s) of interest. The experimental design will also allow (a) to identify gender-specific genes involved in healthy aging and longevity in women and men stratified for ethnic and geographic origin and apoE genotype; (b) to perform a longitudinal survival study to assess the impact of the identified genetic loci on 90+ people mortality; and (c) to develop mathematical and statistical models capable of combining genetic data with demographic characteristics, health status, socioeconomic factors, lifestyle habits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1196/annals.1395.003DOI Listing
April 2007

Inflammation underlying cardiovascular mortality is a late consequence of evolutionary programming.

FASEB J 2004 Jun 14;18(9):1022-4. Epub 2004 Apr 14.

Department of General Internal Medicine, Section Gerontology and Geriatrics, Leiden University Medical Center, C2-R, Albinusdreef 2, P.O. Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands.

With the increase in life expectancy, death from cardiovascular disease has risen greatly. There is increasing evidence that inflammation plays an important role in cardiovascular disease. We postulate that the development of cardiovascular disease in old age is a late consequence of evolutionary programming for a pro-inflammatory response to resist infections in early age. In 311 women, aged 85 yr old, the production of the pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and interleukin (IL)-10 was determined in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated whole blood samples and studied prospectively in association with cardiovascular mortality. High TNF-alpha was a risk factor for death from cardiovascular disease (relative risk [RR] = 1.56; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1-2.40), whereas high IL-10 was protective (RR = 0.58; 95% CI: 0.40-0.85). A genetic variant of the IL-10 gene promoter, which is associated with lower IL-10 production, was found to predispose to a 2.8-fold higher cardiovascular mortality risk (95% CI: 1.17-6.60). Reproductive success, which was studied as a measure of evolutionary programming because it trades off with early survival by pro-inflammatory resistance genes, was negatively associated with an increasing production of TNF-alpha (RR = 0.77; 95% CI: 0.68-0.88), while a positive association with IL-10 was found (RR = 1.22; 95% CI: 1.05-1.41). We suggest that cardiovascular mortality is a late consequence of evolutionary programming for a pro-inflammatory response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1096/fj.03-1162fjeDOI Listing
June 2004