The cyclic AMP (cAMP) signalling cascade is necessary for cell homeostasis and plays important roles in many processes. This is particularly relevant during ageing and age-related diseases, where drastic changes, generally decreases, in cAMP levels have been associated with the progressive decline in overall cell function and, eventually, the loss of cellular integrity. The functional relevance of reduced cAMP is clearly supported by the finding that increases in cAMP levels can reverse some of the effects of ageing. Nevertheless, despite these observations, the molecular mechanisms underlying the dysregulation of cAMP signalling in ageing are not well understood. Compartmentalization is widely accepted as the modality through which cAMP achieves its functional specificity; therefore, it is important to understand whether and how this mechanism is affected during ageing and to define which is its contribution to this process. Several animal models demonstrate the importance of specific cAMP signalling components in ageing, however, how age-related changes in each of these elements affect the compartmentalization of the cAMP pathway is largely unknown. In this review, we explore the connection of single components of the cAMP signalling cascade to ageing and age-related diseases whilst elaborating the literature in the context of cAMP signalling compartmentalization.
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