The Mechanobiology of Aging

Jude M. Phillip, Ivie Aifuwa, Jeremy D Walston, Denis Wirtz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Aging is a complex, multifaceted process that induces a myriad of physiological changes over an extended period of time. Aging is accompanied by major biochemical and biomechanical changes at macroscopic and microscopic length scales that affect not only tissues and organs but also cells and subcellular organelles. These changes include transcriptional and epigenetic modifications; changes in energy production within mitochondria; and alterations in the overall mechanics of cells, their nuclei, and their surrounding extracellular matrix. In addition, aging influences the ability of cells to sense changes in extracellular-matrix compliance (mechanosensation) and to transduce these changes into biochemical signals (mechanotransduction). Moreover, following a complex positive-feedback loop, aging is accompanied by changes in the composition and structure of the extracellular matrix, resulting in changes in the mechanics of connective tissues in older individuals. Consequently, these progressive dysfunctions facilitate many human pathologies and deficits that are associated with aging, including cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and neurodegenerative disorders and diseases. Here, we critically review recent work highlighting some of the primary biophysical changes occurring in cells and tissues that accompany the aging process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-141
Number of pages29
JournalAnnual Review of Biomedical Engineering
Volume17
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 7 2015

Fingerprint

Biophysics
Extracellular Matrix
Aging of materials
Mechanics
Neurodegenerative Diseases
Tissue
Cell Nucleus
Epigenomics
Organelles
Connective Tissue
Compliance
Mitochondria
Pathology
Feedback
Chemical analysis

Keywords

  • Cellular mechanics
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Nuclear mechanics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering

Cite this

The Mechanobiology of Aging. / Phillip, Jude M.; Aifuwa, Ivie; Walston, Jeremy D; Wirtz, Denis.

In: Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering, Vol. 17, 07.12.2015, p. 113-141.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Phillip, Jude M. ; Aifuwa, Ivie ; Walston, Jeremy D ; Wirtz, Denis. / The Mechanobiology of Aging. In: Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering. 2015 ; Vol. 17. pp. 113-141.
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