Research Topic

Role of Epigenetic Factors in Regulating Aging and Longevity

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Aging is a natural process characterized by reduced organ function and increased incidence of age-related diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, and cancer. The number of people aged 65 and older are predicted to reach about 15 billion (approximately 16% of the global ...

Aging is a natural process characterized by reduced organ function and increased incidence of age-related diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, and cancer. The number of people aged 65 and older are predicted to reach about 15 billion (approximately 16% of the global population). Understanding the cause and mechanisms of aging is promising to delay aging, to reduce age-related diseases and promote healthy aging or longevity (that is, aging with good healthy status). Aging is influenced by multiple factors, especially the combination of genetic and environmental factors. Twin studies have shown that the genetic contribution to general human longevity is about 20-30%, while environmental factors in human aging and longevity still account for the largest effect.
Epigenetic factors influence the regulation of gene expression without altering the DNA sequence and thus act as the bridge that links the intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The most common epigenetic modifications include DNA methylation, histone modification, and RNA-based mechanisms. In particular, DNA methylation plays a crucial role in many biological processes, such as development, differentiation, genomic imprinting, and X chromosome inactivation. DNA methylation is emerging as an attracted topic on aging and longevity research field, e.g., DNA methylation was reported to be involved in the formation and stabilization of memories. Variations in DNA methylation caused by environmental stimuli can be transmitted from parents to offspring. Intriguingly, abundant evidence has demonstrated that DNA methylation has a close association with aging, age-related diseases, and longevity. More importantly, accumulated studies suggest that age-dependent DNA methylation changes could be inversed by certain interventions, such as dietary control and chemicals, suggesting great potential of DNA methylation as a therapeutic target in preventing age-related diseases and promoting healthy aging. To better understand the roles of DNA methylation in aging or longevity, more work should be done, e.g., during the aging process, we need to know the functional CpG sites with aberrant DNA methylation changes; the risk factors, such as smoking, alcohol drinking, that contribute to aberrant age-associated DNA methylation changes; and strategies to modify DNA methylation status at target-specific levels. Above all, digging the epigenetic factors on regulating aging and longevity will be a hot topic in the field. Targeting the DNA methylation modification is a promising way to delay aging and promote longevity.

The aim of this Research Topic is therefore to highlight the epigenetic factors in regulating aging and longevity, which will provide new insight into prevention or treatment on age-related diseases, and will helpful to promote healthy aging

To introduce the topic, we will write a mini-review (Yonghan He*, Fuhui Xiao* & Wen Li*; Qingpeng Kong; *equal contributions), followed by original contributions from other authors working in this field.
We now encourage all interested colleagues to submit papers in this subject area: submitted papers can either be Original Research papers, Review articles and/or Hypotheses.


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