Indexed on: 05 Mar '16Published on: 05 Mar '16Published in: Oncotarget
Deficits in neuroendocrine-immune system functioning, including alterations in pineal and thymic glands, contribute to aging-associated diseases. This study looks at ageing-associated alterations in pineal and thymic gland functioning evaluating common signaling molecules present in both human and animal pinealocytes and thymocytes: endocrine cell markers (melatonin, serotonin, pCREB, AANAT, CGRP, VIP, chromogranin Ð); cell renovation markers (p53, AIF, Ki67), matrix metalloproteinases (MMP2, MMP9) and lymphocytes markers (CD4, CD5, CD8, CD20). Pineal melatonin is decreased, as is one of the melatonin pathway synthesis enzymes in the thymic gland. A further similarity is the increased MMPs levels evident over age in both glands. Significant differences are evident in cell renovation processes, which deteriorate more quickly in the aged thymus versus the pineal gland. Decreases in the number of pineal B-cells and thymic T-cells were also observed over aging. Collected data indicate that cellular involution of the pineal gland and thymus show many commonalities, but also significant changes in aging-associated proteins. It is proposed that such ageing-associated alterations in these two glands provide novel pharmaceutical targets for the wide array of medical conditions that are more likely to emerge over the course of ageing.