Slowing down aging from within: mechanistic aspects of anti-aging hormetic effects of mild heat stress on human cells.

  • Suresh I S Rattan Laboratory of Cellular Ageing, Danish Centre for Molecular Gerontology, Department of Molecular Biology, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark.;
  • Regina Gonzalez-Dosal
  • Elise Rørge Nielsen
  • David Christian Kraft
  • Jens Weibel
  • Sørren Kahns


Since aging is primarily the result of a failure of maintenance and repair mechanisms, various approaches are being developed in order to stimulate these pathways and modulate the process of aging. One such approach, termed hormesis, involves challenging cells and organisms by mild stress that often results in anti-aging and life prolonging effects. In a series of experimental studies, we have reported that repeated mild heat stress (RMHS) has anti-aging hormetic effects on growth and various cellular and biochemical characteristics of human skin fibroblasts undergoing aging in vitro. These beneficial effects of repeated challenge include the maintenance of stress protein profile, reduction in the accumulation of oxidatively and glycoxidatively damaged proteins, stimulation of the proteasomal activities for the degradation of abnormal proteins, improved cellular resistance to other stresses, and enhanced levels of cellular antioxidant ability. In order to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of hormetic effects of RMHS, we are now undertaking studies on signal transduction pathways, energy production and utilisation kinetics, and the proteomic analysis of patterns of proteins synthesised and their posttranslational modifications in various types of human cells undergoing cellular aging in vitro. Human applications of hormesis include early intervention and modulation of the aging process to prevent or delay the onset of age-related conditions, such as sarcopenia, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, cataracts and osteoporosis.