Cortisol awakening rise in middle-aged women in relation to psychological stress.

The cortisol awakening rise (CAR) is defined as cortisol secretory activity in the first 45-60min immediately post-awakening. It has been suggested that psychological factors may disrupt the normal awakening rise. Recent research has shown that psychological stress may influence the magnitude of the CAR, however the findings have been mixed. This study examined the impact of stress on the CAR and the diurnal mean in a sample of middle-aged women.
The results suggest that psychological stress may be associated with a smaller cortisol awakening rise, a lower diurnal mean, poor lifestyle choices and high levels of psychological distress. These findings may have broader implications for future health risk and for an individual's ability to cope with imminent daily stressors and demands.

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2009 Jun 9.
O'Connor DB, Hendrickx H, Dadd T, Elliman TD, Willis TA, Talbot D, Mayes AE, Thethi K, Powell J, Dye L.

Cancer and Senescence

Very interesting article in the March issue of Cancer Research Journal:

Senescence is an irreversible arrest triggered by stresses such as telomere shortening, DNA damage, or oncogenic signaling. Oncogene-induced senescence occurs in preneoplastic lesions, but it is absent from full-blown malignancies suggesting a tumor suppressor function. We recently found that depletion of the receptor CXCR2 [which binds to chemokines such as interleukin (IL)-8 or GROalpha] delays both replicative senescence and impairs the senescence response to oncogenic signals. Our findings suggest that signaling by IL-8 and GROalpha might limit tumor growth by reinforcing senescence early in tumorigenesis. The challenge remains in how to integrate this with the well-known tumor promoting effects of IL-8 and GROalpha.

A role for CXCR2 in senescence, but what about in cancer?
Acosta JC, Gil J.
Cancer Res. 2009 Mar 15;69(6):2167-70. Epub 2009 Mar 10.

Cathepsin d and eukaryotic translation elongation factor 1 as promising markers of cellular senescence.

Induction of premature senescence may be a promising strategy for cancer treatment. However, biomarkers for senescent cancer cells are lacking. To identify such biomarkers, we performed comparative proteomic analysis of MCF7 human breast cancer cells undergoing cellular senescence in response to ionizing radiation (IR). IR-induced senescence was associated with up-regulation of cathepsin D (CD) and down-regulation of eukaryotic translation elongation factor 1beta2 (eEF1B2), as confirmed by Western blot. The other elongation factor, eukaryotic translation elongation factor 1alpha1 (eEF1A1), was also down-regulated. IR-induced senescence was associated with similar changes of CD and eEF1 (eEF1A1 and eEF1B2) levels in the HCT116 colon cancer cell line and the H460 lung cancer cell line. Up-regulation of CD and down-regulation of eEF1 seemed to be specific to senescence, as they were observed during cellular senescence induced by hydrogen peroxide or anticancer drugs (camptothecin, etoposide, or 50 ng doxorubicin) but not during apoptosis induced by Taxol or 10 microg doxorubicin or autophagy induced by tamoxifen. The same alterations in CD and eEF1A1 levels were observed during replicative senescence and Ras oncogene-induced senescence. Transient cell cycle arrest did not alter levels of eEF1 or CD. Chemical inhibition of CD (pepstatin A) and small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of CD and eEF1 revealed that these factors participate in cell proliferation. Finally, the senescence-associated alteration in CD and eEF1 levels observed in cell lines was also observed in IR-exposed xenografted tumors. These findings show that CD and eEF1 are promising markers for the detection of cellular senescence induced by a variety of treatments.

Byun HO, Han NK, Lee HJ, Kim KB, Ko YG, Yoon G, Lee YS, Hong SI, Lee JS.
Cancer Res. 2009 Jun 1;69(11):4638-47.

Expression of p16(INK4a) in peripheral blood T-cells is a biomarker of human aging.

Summary Expression of the p16(INK4a) tumor suppressor sharply increases with age in most mammalian tissues, and contributes to an age-induced functional decline of certain self-renewing compartments. These observations have suggested that p16(INK4a) expression could be a biomarker of mammalian aging. To translate this notion to human use, we determined p16(INK4a) expression in cellular fractions of human whole blood, and found highest expression in peripheral blood T-lymphocytes (PBTL). We then measured INK4/ARF transcript expression in PBTL from two independent cohorts of healthy humans (170 donors total), and analyzed their relationship with donor characteristics. Expression of p16(INK4a), but not other INK4/ARF transcripts, appeared to exponentially increase with donor chronologic age. Importantly, p16(INK4a) expression did not independently correlate with gender or body-mass index, but was significantly associated with tobacco use and physical inactivity. In addition, p16(INK4a) expression was associated with plasma interleukin-6 concentration, a marker of human frailty. These data suggest that p16(INK4a) expression in PBTL is an easily measured, peripheral blood biomarker of molecular age.