The effect of aging on the autophagic and heat shock response in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells

J. J. McCormick, T. A. VanDusseldorp, C. G. Ulrich, R. L. Lanphere, K. Dokladny, P. L. Mosely, C. M. Mermier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Autophagy is a lysosome degradation pathway through which damaged organelles and macromolecules are degraded within the cell. A decrease in activity of the autophagic process has been linked to several age-associated pathologies, including triglyceride accumulation, mitochondrial dysfunction, muscle degeneration, and cardiac malfunction. Here, we examined the differences in the autophagic response using autophagy-inducer rapamycin (Rapa) in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from young (21.8 ± 1.9 years) and old (64.0 ± 3.7 years) individuals. Furthermore, we tested the interplay between the heat shock response and autophagy systems. Our results showed a significant increase in LC3-II protein expression in response to Rapa treatment in young but not in old individuals. This was associated with a decreased response in MAP1LC3B mRNA levels, but not SQSTM1/p62. Furthermore, HSPA1A mRNA was upregulated only in young individuals, despite no differences in HSP70 protein expression. The combined findings suggest a suppressed autophagic response following Rapa treatment in older individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-256
Number of pages10
JournalPhysiology International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest.


  • Aging
  • Autophagy
  • HSP
  • PBMC
  • Rapamycin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)

Cite this