The vast majority of the literature on the aryl hydrocarbon receptor is concerned with its functions in xenobiotic detoxification. However, in the course of evolution, this receptor had to have physiological (rather than toxicological) functions. Our aim was to review the aryl hydrocarbon receptor’s role in the physiological functions involved in aging. This study was performed by searching the MEDLINE and Google Academic databases. A total of 34 articles were selected that focused specifically on the aryl hydrocarbon receptor and aging, the aryl hydrocarbon receptor and physiological functions, and the combination of both. This receptor’s main physiological functions (mediated by the modulation of gene expression) were cell regeneration, the immune reaction, intestinal homeostasis, and cell proliferation. Furthermore, it was shown that the loss of this receptor led to premature aging. This process may be caused by the dysregulation of hematopoietic stem cells, loss of glucose and lipid homeostasis, increase in inflammation, and deterioration of the brain. We conclude that the aryl hydrocarbon receptor, apart from its well-established role in xenobiotic detoxication, plays an important role in physiological functions and in the aging process. Modulation of the signaling pathway of this receptor could be a therapeutic target of interest in aging.
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