Toward a unified theory of aging and regeneration

It is generally accepted that aging is a system-wide “deterioration” of an organism over time, yet there is little consensus as to what might be involved in a “unified theory of aging” and the influence of genetic, environmental, and metabolic factors on the rate of aging. The Weissman and Williams hypotheses posit that aging is characterized by a loss of cellular proliferative and regenerative capacity and that this is generally caused by a genetic selection for reproductive fitness early in life which deleteriously affects late-life function. Importantly, distinct “aging” events likely occur during developmental transition(s) throughout life (somatic restriction theory), eventually leading to a decline in an organism's ability to resist aging and a failure of regenerative systems. Targeting the aging process using stem cell reprogramming and induced tissue regeneration has the potential to restore somatic cells to a more “youthful” phenotype and reverse several markers of aging.

View the full peer-reviewed scientific paper at Future Medicine.