Aging is the progressive shrinkage of the homeodynamic space. A crucial component of the homeodynamic space is the stress response (SR), by virtue of which a living system senses disturbance and initiates a series of events for maintenance, repair, adaptation, remodeling and survival. Here we discuss the main intracellular SR pathways in human cells, and argue for the need to define and establish the immediate and delayed stress response profiles (SRP) during aging. Such SRP are required to be established at several age-points, which can be the molecular biomarkers of homeodynamic space and the health status of cells and organisms. SRP can also be useful for testing potential protectors and stimulators of homeodynamics, and can be a standard for monitoring the efficacy of potential pro-survival, health-promoting and aging-modulating conditions, food components and other compounds. An effective strategy, which makes use of SRP for achieving healthy aging and extending the healthspan, is that of strengthening the homeodynamics through repeated mild stress-induced hormesis by physical, biological and nutritional hormetins. Furthermore, SRP can also be the basis for defining health as a state of having adequate physical and mental independence of activities of daily living, by identifying a set of measurable parameters at the most fundamental level of biological organization.
Experimental Gerontology, 2013, Vol 48, Issue 1, p. 94-98