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Received July 12, 2021; Revised July 25, 2021; Accepted July 26, 2021
The review discusses the role of metabolic disorders (in particular, insulin resistance) in the development of age-related diseases and normal aging with special emphasis on the changes in postmitotic cells of higher organisms. Caloric restriction helps to prevent such metabolic disorders, which could probably explain its ability to prolong the lifespan of laboratory animals. Maintaining metabolic homeostasis is especially important for the highly differentiated long-lived body cells, whose lifespan is comparable to the lifespan of the organism itself. Normal functioning of these cells can be ensured only upon correct functioning of the cytoplasm clean-up system and availability of all required nutrients and energy sources. One of the central problems in gerontology is the age-related disruption of glucose metabolism leading to obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and other related pathologies. Along with the adipose tissue, skeletal muscles are the main consumers of insulin; hence the physical activity of muscles, which supports their energy metabolism, delays the onset of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance disrupts the metabolism of cardiomyocytes, so that they fail to utilize the nutrients to perform their functions even being surrounded by a nutrient-rich environment, which contributes to the development of age-related cardiovascular diseases. Metabolic pathologies also alter the nutrient sensitivity of neurons, thus disrupting the action of insulin in the central nervous system. In addition, there is evidence that neurons can develop insulin resistance as well. It has been suggested that affecting nutritional sensors (e.g., AMPK) in postmitotic cells might improve the state of the entire multicellular organism, slow down its aging, and increase the lifespan.
KEY WORDS: caloric restriction, metabolism, AMPK, autophagy, cardiomyocytes, myocytes, neurons