Identification of genes and pathways that alter lifespan has allowed for new insights into factors that control the aging process as well as disease. While strong molecular links exist between aging and metabolism, we hypothesize that targeting the mechanisms involved in aging will also give rise to therapeutics that treat other devastating age-related diseases, such as neurodegeneration, cancer, inflammation and cardiovascular disease. Insulin sensitivity, glycemic control and adiposity are not only hallmarks of the major metabolic diseases, type 2 diabetes and obesity, but they also represent significant risk factors for the development of Alzheimers Disease and cognitive impairment. Insulin/IGF-1 signaling is an important pathway regulating aging and disease in a variety of species, including mammals. Here we describe an important role for the gut-derived peptide ghrelin in upstream signaling through the insulin/IGF-1 pathway and exemplify modulation of ghrelin signaling as an approach to mechanistic treatment of multiple age-related diseases by virtue of its ability to regulate key metabolic functions.
Keywords: IGF-1 receptor, Ghrelin, GHSR-1a knockouts, advanced glycation end products, Alzheimer Disease
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