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Mocchegiani E.,Ctr. Nutrition and Ageing | Malavolta M.,Ctr. Nutrition and Ageing | Costarelli L.,Ctr. Nutrition and Ageing | Giacconi R.,Ctr. Nutrition and Ageing | And 3 more authors.
Current Aging Science | Year: 2013

The restoration of the thymic functions and the thymic re-growth may be achieved in old mice by some endocrinological (melatonin) or nutritional interventions (arginine or zinc), suggesting that the thymic involution in old age is a phenomenon secondary to age-related alterations occurring in neuroendocrine-thymus interactions. The targets for the thymic restoration may be hormone receptors and cytokines, strictly related to the presence of two nutritional factors, such as arginine and zinc, which are in turn essential for the efficiency of neuroendocrine-immune network both in ontogeny and ageing. The effect of melatonin is largely due to the presence of its specific receptors on cell membrane of thymocytes and Thymic Epithelial Cells (TECs). TECs synthesize thymulin peptide that is required for T-cell differentiation and maturation within the thymus gland. In this context, the role of zinc is pivotal because it is involved, through "zinc finger motifs", in the gene expression of melatonin receptors, in cell proliferation, apoptosis and thymulin reactivation. Zinc is also required for the biological action of arginine, via Nitric Oxide pathway. Therefore, the beneficial effect of melatonin or arginine on neuroendocrine-thymus interaction in ageing can also occur via a better zinc pool redistribution within the body where the capability of the zinc-binding proteins Metallothioneins (MT) in zinc release has a key role. These findings suggest that zinc, via MT buffering, can be a single mediator in modulating neuroendocrine-thymus interaction in ageing. © 2013 Bentham Science Publishers.

Mocchegiani E.,Ctr. Nutrition and Ageing | Basso A.,Ctr. Nutrition and Ageing | Giacconi R.,Ctr. Nutrition and Ageing | Piacenza F.,Ctr. Nutrition and Ageing | And 3 more authors.
Biogerontology | Year: 2010

The pivotal role played by zinc-gene interaction in affecting the inflammatory response mediated by IL-6 in ageing, successful ageing (nonagenarians) and the most common age-related diseases is now recognized. Contradictory data emerging from association studies of IL-6 polymorphisms with longevity and chronic age-related diseases seem to arise from the interaction of this inflammatory pathway with dietary habits. Similar conclusions are expected to arise from association studies with the frailty syndrome. Some polymorphisms of genes related to vitamin B12 availability have been already found to be associated with frailty suggesting a possible link among diet-gene interaction and frailty in old age. Other studies in this field are urgently required because of their high potential for suggesting strategies in the care and prevention of frailty in ageing through dietary interventions, in which nutrient zinc may play a pivotal role taking into account that the high copper to zinc ratio is a significant index of the mortality in older people. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

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