Dopamine and Aging: Intersecting Facets
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Aging encompasses life itself so understanding requires frameworks that forge unity amidst complexity. The free radical theory of aging is one example. The original focus on damage was augmented recently by appreciation that reactive oxygen and nitrogen species are essential to normal signaling and cell function. This paradigm is currently undergoing an explosive expansion fueled by the discovery that regulatory organization is a merry-go-round of redox cycling seamlessly fused to endogenous clocks. This might best be described as an "Electroplasmic Cycle." This is certainly applicable to dopaminergic neurons with their exceptional metabolic, electrical and rhythmic properties. Here I review normal aging of dopamine systems to highlight them as a valuable model. I then examine the possible integration of free radical and ion channel theories of aging. Finally, I incorporate clocks and explore the multifaceted implications of electroplasmic cycles with special emphasis on dopamine.
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