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Hypothalamic control of ageing processes

Ageing is closely associated with both nutrition and inflammation, and certain neurons can mediate environmental influences on ageing in Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila. This study focuses on the hypothalamus, a brain region that is critical for the neuroendocrine interaction between the central nervous system and the periphery. Guo Zhang et al. show that activation of IKK-β and NF-κB in the hypothalamus of mice accelerates the ageing process and shortens lifespan. Inhibition of IKK-β and NF-κB, mediators of metabolic inflammation, delays ageing and extends lifespan. NF-κB activation results in a decline of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) levels and suppresses neurogenesis. GnRH treatment amends ageing-impaired neurogenesis and decelerates ageing. These results suggest that NF-κB-mediated inhibition of GnRH may shut down reproduction and ensure the quality of the species, but it initiates systemic ageing at the same time.

Nature 497, 7448 table of contents

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