Does Chronic Glycolysis Accelerate Aging? Could This Explain How Dietary Restriction Works?

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The mechanisms by which dietary restriction (DR) suppresses aging are not understood. Suppression of glycolysis by DR could contribute to controlling senescence. Many glycolytic intermediates can glycate proteins and other macromolecules. Methyglyoxal (MG), formed from dihydroxyacetone- and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphates, rapidly glycates proteins, damages mitochondria, and induces a prooxidant state to create a senescent-like condition. Ad libitum-fed and DR animals differ in mitochondrial activity and glycolytic flux rates. Persistent glycolysis in the unrestricted condition would increase the intracellular load of glycating agents (e.g., MG) and increase ROS generation by inactive mitochondria. Occasional glycolysis during DR would decrease MG and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and could be hormetic, inducing synthesis of glyoxalase-1 and anti-glycating agents (carnosine and polyamines).

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