Aging is an intricate process modulated by different molecular and cellular events, such as genome instability, epigenetic and transcriptional changes, molecular damage, cell death and senescence, inflammation, and metabolic dysfunction. Particularly, protein quality control (chaperone systems) tends to be negatively affected by aging, thus leading to cellular senescence in metabolic tissues and, as a consequence, to the increasing dissemination of inflammation throughout the body. The heat shock (HS) response and its associated expression of the 70 kDa family of heat shock proteins (HSP70), which are anti-inflammatory molecular chaperones, are found to be markedly decreased during muscle inactivity and aging, while evidence supports the loss of HSP70 as a key mechanism which may drive muscle atrophy, contractile dysfunction, and reduced regenerative capacity. In addition, abnormal stress response is linked with higher incidence of neurodegenerative diseases as well as low-grade inflammatory diseases that are associated with physical inactivity and obesity. Therefore, strategies to increase or, at least, to maintain the levels of HSP70, and its accompanying HS response to stress, are key to reduce biological cell dysfunctions that occur in aging. In this sense, physical exercise is of note as it is the most powerful inducer of the HS response, comparable only to heat stress and fever-like conditions. On the other hand, the amino acid l-glutamine, whose production within the skeletal muscle and liberation into the blood stream is dependent on muscle activity, is a potentializer of HSP70 expression and HS response, particularly via its entering in hexosamine biosynthetic pathway (HBP). Herein, we discuss the collaborative role of glutamine (and its donors/precursors) and physical exercise (mostly responsible for glutamine release into the circulation) as potential tools to increase HSP70 expression and the HS response in the elderly.
- Age-related condition
- Heat shock response
- Hexosamine biosynthetic pathway (HBP)
- Stress response