|A Hypothalamus-Centric Inflammation-Mediated View of Aging. What About Energy Metabolism?
Zhang et al. (1) report three remarkable findings that transcend the fields of aging, neuroscience, and immunology. First, by selectively manipulating the activation state of the transcription factor NF-κB in cells of the mediobasal hypothalamus (MBH), they show that the lifespan of mice can be extended by reducing NF-κB activity and shortened by elevating NF-κB activity. Second, they provide evidence that a local microglia-mediated inflammatory process in the MBH drives aging of mice. Third, their data suggest that a local inflammation-mediated reduction in gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is an important determinant of lifespan. As indicated in the title of their article, the authors’ overall conclusion from their findings is that inflammation-related processes in the hypothalamus program or coordinate the aging process throughout the entire animal. The notion that aging is a "programmed" process has been the subject of much debate in the aging field during the past...