Foreseeable pharmaceutical repair of age-related extracellular damage.

Curr Drug Targets. 2006 Nov;7(11):1469-77.

Foreseeable pharmaceutical repair of age-related extracellular damage.

de Grey ADNJ.

Abstract

Abstract:

Various molecular and cellular alterations to our tissues accumulate throughout life as intrinsic side-effects of metabolism. These alterations are initially harmless, but some, which we may term "damage", are pathogenic when sufficiently abundant. The slowness of their accumulation explains why decline of tissue and organismal function generally does not appear until the age of 40 or older. Aging is thus best viewed as a two-part process in which metabolism causes accumulating damage and sufficiently abundant damage causes pathology. Hence, a promising approach to avoiding age-related pathology is periodically to repair the various types of damage and so maintain them at a sub-pathogenic level. Some examples of such types of damage are intracellular and others extracellular. Several types of intracellular damage are highly challenging--sophisticated cellular and genetic therapies will be needed to combat them, which are surely at least 20 years away and maybe much more. Extracellular damage, by contrast, generally appears more amenable to pharmaceutical repair which may be feasible in a shorter timeframe. In this article, the major types of age-related extracellular damage and promising avenues for their repair are reviewed.