A possible dependence of aging and life span in humans on specific features of early ontogenesis has been analyzed on the basis of published data and results of the author. It was shown that the life span depended on climatic factors that acted during the prenatal and/or early postnatal period. Analysis of a sample of 101 634 persons who died in Kiev between 1990 and 2000 showed a reliable relationship between the age of death and the month of birth. The lowest and highest death ages were observed for persons born from April to June and at the end of the year, respectively. The lowest and highest average monthly values of death age differed in men and in women by 2.6 and 2.3 years, respectively. In persons surviving for more than 60 years, a “birthday” effect was demonstrated: dependence of the mortality level on the month of the individual annual cycle was the highest in its first and last months. It has been proposed that this effect is related to imprinting of the “birth stress” in the structure of biological rhythms, which may lead to periodic changes in viability during the individual annual cycle. The mechanisms underlying long-term effects of stresses in early ontogenesis have been studied in Drosophila melanogaster. X-irradiation of eggs at 0.50 and 0.75 Gy led to an increased level of survival of the imago. The described radiation hormesis was accompanied by an increased resistance of DNA to S1-nuclease, which could be due to a long-term activation of the repair system in irradiated insects. The results obtained suggest that long-term changes in the pattern of gene expression induced by mild stresses in early ontogenesis can be a key mechanism of early “programming” of the potential for longevity and hormesis for the life span.
Russian Journal of Developmental Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 30, 2004
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