Research Papers: Gerotarget (Focus on Aging):

Morphofunctional and signaling molecules overlap of the pineal gland and thymus: role and significance in aging

Michael A. Paltsev, Victoria O. Polyakova, Igor M. Kvetnoy, George Anderson, Tatiana V. Kvetnaia, Natalia S. Linkova, Ekaterina M. Paltseva, Rosa Rubino, Salvatore De Cosmo, Angelo De Cata and Gianluigi Mazzoccoli _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:11972-11983. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7863

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Michael A. Paltsev1, Victoria O. Polyakova2,3, Igor M. Kvetnoy2,3, George Anderson4, Tatiana V. Kvetnaia2, Natalia S. Linkova2, Ekaterina M. Paltseva5, Rosa Rubino6, Salvatore De Cosmo6, Angelo De Cata6 and Gianluigi Mazzoccoli6

1 Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, Russian Federation, Russia

2 Department of Pathology, Ott Institute of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductology, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, Russia

3 Laboratory of Cell Biology and Pathology, Institute of Bioregulation and Gerontology, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, Russia

4 CRC Scotland and London, United Kingdom

5 Division of Immuhistochemistry, B.V. Petrovsky Russian Surgery Research Center, Moscow, Russian Federation, Russia

6 Department of Medical Sciences, Division of Internal Medicine and Chronobiology Unit, IRCCS Scientific Institute and Regional General Hospital “Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza”, Opera di Padre Pio da Pietrelcina, San Giovanni Rotondo (FG), Italy


Igor M. Kvetnoy, email:

Gianluigi Mazzoccoli, email:

Keywords: pineal, thymus, melatonin, neuroendocrine-immune, aging, Gerotarget

Received: February 01, 2016 Accepted: February 23, 2016 Published: March 02, 2016


Deficits in neuroendocrine-immune system functioning, including alterations in pineal and thymic glands, contribute to aging-associated diseases. This study looks at ageing-associated alterations in pineal and thymic gland functioning evaluating common signaling molecules present in both human and animal pinealocytes and thymocytes: endocrine cell markers (melatonin, serotonin, pCREB, AANAT, CGRP, VIP, chromogranin А); cell renovation markers (p53, AIF, Ki67), matrix metalloproteinases (MMP2, MMP9) and lymphocytes markers (CD4, CD5, CD8, CD20). Pineal melatonin is decreased, as is one of the melatonin pathway synthesis enzymes in the thymic gland. A further similarity is the increased MMPs levels evident over age in both glands. Significant differences are evident in cell renovation processes, which deteriorate more quickly in the aged thymus versus the pineal gland. Decreases in the number of pineal B-cells and thymic T-cells were also observed over aging. Collected data indicate that cellular involution of the pineal gland and thymus show many commonalities, but also significant changes in aging-associated proteins. It is proposed that such ageing-associated alterations in these two glands provide novel pharmaceutical targets for the wide array of medical conditions that are more likely to emerge over the course of ageing.

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