DNA damage: the unifying cause of aging?

Based on a systematic review of the literature, scientists propose that DNA damage could be the unifying cause of aging | a Review in Nature

The CECAD PIs Björn Schumacher and Jan Hoeijmakers together with two colleagues from Rotterdam and New York published an article reviewing the central role of DNA damage in the aging process.

To date, it is still unknown whether the highly complex process of aging with its many facets might have a unifying causal mechanism.

The authors suggest that DNA damage is the key player underlying the aging process. DNA damage is at the root of most dysfuctions observed in the aging process ranging from the molecular and cellular to the organismal level. Furthermore, DNA repair defects accelerate the development of a wide range of age-related diseases. The authors critically discuss and weigh a range of arguments and conclude that the central role of DNA damage is the most plausible explanation of the ageing phenotype.

„Based on all the evidence we collected, DNA damage is by far the most likely molecular driver of aging, “ said Schumacher.

„If we now look deeper into the mechanisms through which DNA damage affects each of the major processes that causally contribute to pathologies occurring at old age, it opens up perspectives to tackle the aging process at its root cause and

thus counteract all aging-associated diseases simultaneously, “ the authors conclude.

Original Publication:

Schumacher B, Pothof J, Vijg J, Hoeijmakers. The central role of DNA damage in the ageing process. Nature 2021