Professor Giovanni Scapagnini
Professor Scapagnini was born in Naples on 31/08/1966. He has graduated in 1992
at the School of Medicine and Surgery, University of Catania, and he has obtained a PhD in
Neurobiology in 2000. Since completing his education, Dr. Scapagnini has conducted research
with the Institute of Pharmacology associated with the University of Catania and has worked as
a Visiting Scientist with Department of Surgical Research, Northwick Park Institute for Medical
Research, Harrow, UK in 1999, and with Laboratory of Adaptive Systems, National Institute of
Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institute of Health in Bethesda, MD, USA in 2000.
Dr. Scapagnini has been Research Assistant Professor at the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences
Institute, West Virginia University at Johns Hopkins University, Rockville, MD from 2000 to
2003 and Research Assistant Professor at the Institute of Neurological Sciences, Italian National
Research Council, from 2003 to 2006. From 2004 he has been Visiting professor at the Institute
of Human Virology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD. Currently he hold an Academic
positions as Associate Professor of Clinical Biochemistry, at the Faculty of Medicine, University
of Molise, Campobasso. His fields of research regard biology and molecular mechanisms of ageing
and neurodegenerative disorders, with particular focus on nutrient activated signaling pathways
related to lifespan regulation.
2014 Pre-conference: Back to the Future: The Role of Diet, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Polyphenols in the Management of Aging.
2014 Lecture: Oxidative Stress and Aging: The Okinawa model
Giovanni Scapagnini, Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy.
Craig D Willcox, Department of Human Welfare, Okinawa International University.
A challenge in the area of healthy ageing is to identify dietary patterns, in addition to specific
dietary components, that offer protection against age-related diseases. Residents of Okinawa, the
southernmost prefecture of Japan, are known for their long average life expectancy, high numbers
of centenarians, and accompanying low risk of age-associated diseases. Much of the longevity
advantage in Okinawa is thought to be related to a healthy lifestyle, particularly the traditional diet
and the social support of family and friends. Okinawan diet is low in calories, yet nutritionally
dense, particularly with regard to vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients and it is associated with
lower rates of cardiovascular mortality, reduced risk for hormone dependent cancers, as well as
longevity. There is a substantial amount of research supporting oxidative stress as one of the main
causes of ageing. In contrast, there are few longevity models that have been created to evaluate
enhanced anti-oxidative mechanisms. Many phytochemicals (e.g. polyphenols, flavonoids,
terpenoids, etc.) are major ingredients present in fruits, vegetables, and spices typically used in
the Okinawa diet, and most of them have been shown to have protective effects- against age-
related degeneration. Interestingly, many of these phytochemicals are activators of Nrf2, a central
regulator of the adaptive response to oxidative stress, and through this pathway they can inhibit
ROS production and counteract oxidative damage.
In this presentation we briefly discuss relevant topics on ageing and longevity with particular focus
on dietary patterns of Okinawa centenarians and nutrient-sensing pathways that have a pivotal role
in the regulation of redox homeostasis and life span.