Aging at the molecular level is characterized by the progressive accumulation of molecular damage. The sources of damage act randomly through environmental and metabolically generated free radicals, through spontaneous errors in biochemical reactions, and through nutritional components. However, damage to a macromolecule may depend on its structure, localization and interactions with other macromolecules. Damage to the maintenance and repair pathways comprising homeodynamic machinery leads to age-related failure of homeodynamics, increased molecular heterogeneity, altered cellular functioning, reduced stress tolerance, diseases and ultimate death. Novel approaches for testing and developing effective means of intervention, prevention and modulation of aging involve means to minimize the occurrence and accumulation of molecular damage. Mild stress-induced hormesis by physical, biological and nutritional methods, including hormetins, represents a promising strategy for achieving healthy aging and for preventing age-related diseases.
©2008 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York