Aging and senescence: approach from apitherapy

In recent decades there has been an increase in the world population and life expectancy. During the last century the world population quadrupled and estimates indicate that in the next decades it will double again (1). Likewise, life expectancy has been shown to increase significantly, before 1800 it was 32 years old, in countries like Sweden by 1900 it was 50 years old and it is currently estimated at 82 years (2 ,3).

Demographic dynamics, changing according to populations, show different scenarios, according to birth rates, mortality and life expectancy. Developed countries generally show low birth rates and a higher life expectancy, which leads to a population that is over 40 years of age. Of course, many countries are still in this transition process (4,5). This, in addition to technological, medical advances and improvement in people’s living conditions, has modified the profile of diseases that occur in populations (6,7). That is, there is an increasingly aging population worldwide.

There are some approaches to the concept of aging. Aging has been defined as that process that leads to persistent deterioration in the components that are responsible for maintaining the natural state of the body due to physiological deterioration (8). It has also been defined as the process of progressive deterioration of physiological function that leads to an increase in age-dependent mortality (9). There are several important elements that arise from these definitions: functional capacity, onset of diseases and age-dependent mortality. They then define aging as a stage of life however it is clear that it does not start at the same chronological age (years old) in all people.

In a recent investigation it was tried to evaluate the age at which the process of aging of the body begins by measuring the activity and expression of various proteins related to aging, being evident that on average 34 years is the age at which it begins (10). There is of course in some cases the mismatch between the chronological age and the biological age, that is the identifiable age according to the state of the body. The evaluation of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA methylations is a method currently used to assess aging and serves as a predictor of mortality (11). Premature aging deteriorates the quality of life and is related to the development of various diseases and their outcomes (12).

Biological processes involved in aging


There are several theories that try to explain the origin of aging. These can be classified into three groups: deterministic (only by studying the genes is it possible to explain aging, for example), stochastic (various random factors explain aging) and mixed theories (13). The truth is that only by combining various physiological and pathological processes is it possible to explain all the events that occur in aging. Next, several of the processes involved in the aging process are addressed:

Genetic factors. The processes of cell division over time, exposure to trauma, allostatic overload and chemical and physical agents leads to the development of mutations in the DNA that alter cellular functioning (14). The study of the progreria has allowed to identify genes of relevance in the explanation of aging:

Shortening of telomeres. Telomeres give stability to genetic information and over time they become progressively and significantly shortened. This process is related to the speed with which aging occurs (15). It has also been established that a smaller telomere size is related to a higher mortality from all causes (16).

Mitochondrial DNA injury. Mitochondrial DNA lesions resulting from the action of free radicals, accumulated mutations throughout life and alterations in the processes of fusion and mitochondrial fission are related to biological age, shorter telomere length and phenotypic changes. of aging (17).

Hyperactivation of the nuclear factor Kappa Beta. Senescent cells show exaggerated activation of the nuclear factor Kappa Beta which leads to functional loss and destruction of tissues and systemic inflammation (18).

Free radicals. Free radicals are involved in aging by the induction of cell death they produce, the generation of mutations and functional alteration (19).

Cross junctions of cellular structures. The glycation processes affect cell structures, modify the extracellular matrix and affect the function of organs and tissues. These processes are related to a higher aging rate (20).

Immune system. With the increase of age there are many senescent immune system cells. This causes a decrease in the repertoire of B and T cells, a decrease in their response and alterations in the release of cytokines necessary for communication with other cell groups (21).

Epigenetics. Methylation processes affect the nucleosome and the way in which DNA is stored by altering the expression of different proteins. Greater methylation is related in turn to the speed with which aging occurs (22).

Use of apitherapy in anti aging

The Beehive products are very useful in the aging process. There are several mechanisms through which they act:

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