Vitamin D Promotes Protein Homeostasis and Longevity via the Stress Response Pathway Genes

  • Vitamin D metabolism is conserved between nematodes and mammals
  • Vitamin D prevents the age-dependent accumulation of SDS-insoluble proteins
  • Vitamin D enhances lifespan and protein homeostasis via IRE-1, XBP-1, and SKN-1


Vitamin D has multiple roles, including the regulation of bone and calcium homeostasis. Deficiency of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, the major circulating form of vitamin D, is associated with an increased risk of age-related chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cognitive impairment, and cancer. In this study, we utilized Caenorhabditis elegans to examine the mechanism by which vitamin D influences aging. We found that vitamin-D3-induced lifespan extension requires the stress response pathway genes skn-1, ire-1, and xbp-1. Vitamin D3 (D3) induced expression of SKN-1 target genes but not canonical targets of XBP-1. D3 suppressed an important molecular pathology of aging, that of widespread protein insolubility, and prevented toxicity caused by human β-amyloid. Our observation that D3 improves protein homeostasis and slows aging highlights the importance of maintaining appropriate vitamin D serum levels and may explain why such a wide variety of human age-related diseases are associated with vitamin D deficiency.

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Vitamin D, calcium homeostasis and aging, an ebook


Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mass and microarchitecture deterioration of bone tissue, leading to enhanced bone fragility and consequent increase in fracture risk. Evidence is accumulating for an important role of calcium deficiency as the process of aging is associated with disturbed calcium balance. Vitamin D is the principal factor that maintains calcium homeostasis. Increasing evidence indicates that the reason for disturbed calcium balance with age is inadequate vitamin D levels in the elderly. In this article, an overview of our current understanding of vitamin D, its metabolism, and mechanisms involved in vitamin D-mediated maintenance of calcium homeostasis is presented. In addition, mechanisms involved in age-related dysregulation of 1,25(OH)2D3 action, recommended daily doses of vitamin D and calcium, and the use of vitamin D analogs for the treatment of osteoporosis (which remains controversial) are reviewed. Elucidation of the molecular pathways of vitamin D action and modifications that occur with aging will be an active area of future research that has the potential to reveal new therapeutic strategies to maintain calcium balance.



Expanding the association between the APOE gene and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease: possible roles for APOE promoter polymorphisms and alterations in APOE transcription, an ebook


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most commonly diagnosed form of dementia in the elderly. Predominantly this disease is sporadic in nature with only a small percentage of patients exhibiting a familial trait. Early-onset AD may be explained by single gene defects; however, most AD cases are late onset (> 65 years) and, although there is no known definite cause for this form of the disease, there are several known risk factors. Of these, the epsilon4 allele of the apolipoprotein E (apoE) gene (APOE) is a major risk factor. The epsilon4 allele of APOE is one of three (epsilon2 epsilon3 and epsilon4) common alleles generated by cysteine/arginine substitutions at two polymorphic sites. The possession of the epsilon 4 allele is recognized as the most common identifiable genetic risk factor for late-onset AD across most populations. Unlike the pathogenic mutations in the amyloid precursor or those in the presenilins, APOE epsilon4 alleles increase the risk for AD but do not guarantee disease, even when present in homozygosity. In addition to the cysteine/arginine polymorphisms at the epsilon2/epsilon3/epsilon4 locus, polymorphisms within the proximal promoter of the APOE gene may lead to increased apoE levels by altering transcription of the APOE gene. Here we review the genetic and biochemical evidence supporting the hypothesis that regulation of apoE protein levels may contribute to the risk of AD, distinct from the well known polymorphisms at the epsilon2/epsilon3/epsilon4 locus.

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