Cytosolic malate dehydrogenase regulates senescence in human fibroblasts.

PMID 22971926


Carbohydrate metabolism changes during cellular senescence. Cytosolic malate dehydrogenase (MDH1) catalyzes the reversible reduction of oxaloacetate to malate at the expense of reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH). Here, we show that MDH1 plays a critical role in the cellular senescence of human fibroblasts. We observed that the activity of MDH1 was reduced in old human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs) [population doublings (PD) 56], suggesting a link between decreased MDH1 protein levels and aging. Knockdown of MDH1 in young HDFs (PD 20) and the IMR90 human fibroblast cell line resulted in the appearance of significant cellular senescence features, including senescence-associated β-galactosidase staining, flattened and enlarged morphology, increased population doubling time, and elevated p16(INK4A) and p21(CIP1) protein levels. Cytosolic NAD/NADH ratios were decreased in old HDFs to the same extent as in MDH1 knockdown HDFs, suggesting that cytosolic NAD depletion is related to cellular senescence. We found that AMP-activated protein kinase, a sensor of cellular energy, was activated in MDH1 knockdown cells. We also found that sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) deacetylase, a controller of cellular senescence, was decreased in MDH1 knockdown cells. These results indicate that the decrease in MDH1 and subsequent reduction in NAD/NADH ratio, which causes SIRT1 inhibition, is a likely carbohydrate metabolism-controlled cellular senescence mechanism.