Is your environment making you older? Molecular biomarkers and new approaches to investigate the influences of environmental chemicals through aging

Main Article Content

Diddier Prada
Daniel Belsky
Andrea Baccarelli

Keywords

Environment, Epigenetics, Age acceleration, Biological clocks, DNA methylation, Epitranscriptomics, Aging.

Abstract

Aging is characterized by a gradual and progressive decline in system integrity that occurs with advancing chronological age. Although it is a physiological process, aging is associated with a myriad of age-related diseases (ARDs), including frailty, sarcopenia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. While not exclusively ARDs, many of these diseases lead to death, a lesser quality of life, and increased healthcare costs for individuals and systems. ARDs share several underlying molecular mechanisms, such as cellular damage, inflammation, DNA methylation changes, stem cells exhaustion, and DNA mutations, which have been outlined as hallmarks of aging. Evidence suggests that environmental exposures, including but not limited to metals, air pollution, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and noise, may accelerate biological aging. Over the past few years, aging research has identified new molecular biomarkers of the aging process. When applied to investigate environmental influences, these biomarkers can help identify individuals who are particularly susceptible to the influences of environmental exposures on aging processes and therefore guide in implementing possible preventive measures.

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References

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