Dietary restriction and the aging brain
Understanding aging and its associated challenges, particularly in the context of an aging population, is of paramount importance. Age-related diseases, such as neurodegenerative disorders, pose significant burdens on society. However, studies focused on investigating these diseases have provided valuable insights into the process of aging itself. Among the various interventions studied, dietary restriction (DR) has emerged as a highly effective means of extending healthy lifespan across different species, ranging from yeast to flies to mammals. While our understanding of the mechanisms through which DR affects brain function is still developing, recent research has shed light on its potential benefits. Epidemiological studies have demonstrated that DR can reduce the risk of both Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. In animal models, DR has shown promise in ameliorating cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's disease and improving motor and memory dysfunctions induced by toxins. These findings highlight the potential of targeting DR-related molecules and pathways for the treatment of age-related diseases. In our laboratory, we are dedicated to conducting a systematic investigation into the effects of DR on the aging brain. By unraveling the molecular underpinnings of how DR influences cognition, we aim to develop strategies that protect neurons from insults and enhance mental fitness. This research holds the potential to unlock novel therapeutic approaches for promoting healthy brain aging and combating age-related cognitive decline.
Development of anti-aging interventions
We conducted high-throughput gene expression profiling to investigate the mechanisms underlying the lifespan-extending effects of DR. Through this approach, we discovered several novel longevity genes that show potential as targets for the development of DR mimetics. By targeting these genes, we aim to replicate the beneficial effects of DR without the need for strict dietary interventions, offering alternative approaches to promote healthy aging. In addition to the genetic aspect, we also conducted screenings of natural products, specifically Chinese herbs, to identify compounds that possess anti-aging properties. This screening process allowed us to identify natural compounds with the potential to counteract the aging process and potentially treat age-related diseases. Our goal is to develop interventions that not only extend lifespan but also improve overall health and well-being during the aging process.