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Thymic Involution in Ontogenesis: Role in Aging Program

G. A. Shilovsky*, B. A. Feniouk, and V. P. Skulachev

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, 119991 Moscow, Russia; E-mail: grgerontol@gmail.com

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received October 1, 2015
In most mammals, involution of the thymus occurs with aging. In this issue of Biochemistry (Moscow) devoted to phenoptosis, A. V. Khalyavkin considered involution of a thymus as an example of the program of development and further – of proliferation control and prevention of tumor growth. However, in animals devoid of a thymus (e.g. naked mice), stimulation of carcinogenesis, but not its prevention was observed. In this report, we focus on the involution of the thymus as a manifestation of the aging program (slow phenoptosis). We also consider methods of reversal/arrest of this program at different levels of organization of life (cell, tissue, and organism) including surgical manipulations, hormonal effects, genetic techniques, as well as the use of conventional and mitochondria-targeted antioxidants. We conclude that programmed aging (at least on the model of age-dependent thymic atrophy) can be inhibited.
KEY WORDS: aging, senescence, thymic involution, phenoptosis, anti-aging medicine

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297915120135