Biology of Aging

Academic year
Subject Area
Biology and Genetics
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
2nd Cycle Studies - Mestrado

Recommended Prerequisites

Before beginning the study of this curricular unit,  students should have acquired general knowledge about the molecular composition and function of cellular organelles, as well as the function of cells and tissues of th human body. Students should also have basic knowledge of cellular metabolism and remind the processes of inter-and intracellular signalingc.   

Teaching Methods

Theoretical and Theoretical-practical classes.  

Learning Outcomes

The curricular unit of 'Biology of Aging' has the following objectives: 1) Identify the physiological alterations that occur during aging; 2) Describe the theories of aging; 3) Analyse the dysfunction of the nervous system as a paradigm of aging; 4) Describe the cellular consequences of mitochondrial dysfunction considering the bioenergetic dysfunction, the production of free radicals and oxidative stress, cell death by apoptosis (and necrosis) and the dysfunction of proteolysis, namely the role of the ubiquitin-proteasome system and autophagy; 5) Describe the metabolic dysfunctions occurring in diabetes mellitus type II and in atherosclerosis in the elderly; 6) Revise the molecular basis of common mechanisms of neurodegeneration; 7) Analyse the role of protein aggregates in neurodegenerative diseases; and 8) Describe the main neuropathological characteristics of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. 9) Analyse potential anti-ageing therapies.

Work Placement(s)



1. Physiological modifications in the elderly. The theories of aging.

2. Altered mitochondrial function during aging. The role of free radicals.

3. Metabolic dysfunctions in the elderly: diabetes and atherosclerosis.

4. Dysfunction of the nervous system in the elderly: Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.   

Head Lecturer(s)

Ana Cristina Carvalho Rego

Assessment Methods

Synthesis work: 100.0%


  - Sinclair D.A., Guarente L. (2006) Scientific American, p. 30-37.

- Finkel T., Serrano M., Blasco M. A. (2007) Nature 448: 767-774.

- Chu CT et al. (2013) Nat Cell Biol. 15(10):1197-205.

- Cuervo AM. (2008) Trends Genet. 24(12):604-12.

- Banerjee R, Beal MF, Thomas B. (2010) Trends Neurosci. 33(12):541-9.

- Rego AC, Oliveira CR. (2003) Neurochem Res. 28(10):1563-74.

- Siegel GJ, Albers RW, Brady S, Price DL (2006) “Basic Neurochemistry: Molecular, Cellular and Medical Aspects”, 7ª Ed., Elsevier Academic Press.

 - Manuel Teixeira Veríssimo, (2014) “Geriatria fundamental – saber e praticar “.