Aging is a natural part of life that changes the body in ways that we may not like at times.
Researchers from Harvard Medical School believe that epigenetic changes — not just changes in DNA — influence aging.
This view is supported by experiments where epigenetic changes caused mice to develop the first tooth and reversal of the induced changes caused reverse aging.
Aging is a life process that everyone goes through. As we age, the body changes in different ways – sometimes good and sometimes not as good as we might like.
Scientists have looked for ways to do this SlowerAnd Stopor reflects aging process. While research and medical advances helped Increased life expectancyAging continues.
For many years, most researchers believed that changes to the body’s DNA were called mutations One of the main causes of aging.
Now a team led by researchers from Harvard Medical School is finding support for an alternative hypothesis: changes that affect DNA expression – called Epigenetics – affecting aging. The scientists showed this with a mouse model where changes in epigenetic information caused the mice to first age and then reverse aging.
The study appears in the journal cell.
Gene activity, the “switching” and “off” of genes, is associated with epigenetic changes, chemical changes in DNA that do not alter the DNA sequence. Epigenetics studies how the environment can modify how genes function without changing the genes themselves.
Some examples of things that may lead to genetic changes:
This study isn’t the first time researchers have used epigenetics to study aging. For example, previous research shows that epigenetics provides a biological clock for the body, which helps scientists gauge a person’s rate of aging.
Medical news today Speak with Dr. David Sinclair, professor in the Department of Genetics and co-director of the Paul F. Glenn of Geriatric Research Biology at Harvard Medical School, and senior author of this study.
Dr Sinclair said the research team decided to study epigenetic inheritance as a potential driver of the aging process based on previous research he was involved in in the 1990s which showed that age is under the control of epigenetic regulators called epigenetic regulators. sirtuins.
“We discovered that if you run three”YamanakaGenes that are normally turned on during embryonic developmentYou can safely reverse the aging process by over 50%. MNT. These genes initiate a program that is not well understood, but the result is a reversal of age and a restoration of tissue function. For example, we can reverse an era optic nerves to restore Vision to all mice.
During this study, the researchers created temporary, fast-healing “wounds” in the DNA of mice. These reductions mimicked the influence of specific lifestyle and environmental influences on the epigenetic inheritance pattern of DNA.
The researchers found that the wounds caused the mice to change the epigenetic pattern of inheritance and eventually to malfunction, causing the mice to start looking and functioning much older. These mice also increased Biomarkers indicating aging.
The scientists then gave these mice gene therapy to reverse the epigenetic changes, which they said “reset” the mice’s epigenetic inheritance program, ultimately reversing the aging the mice experienced.
“We hope that these findings will be seen as a turning point in our ability to control aging,” says Sinclair. “This is the first study to show that we can precisely control the biological lifespan of a complex animal; that we can nudge it back and forth at will.”
MNT Also talk about this study with Dr. Santosh Kesari, MD, a neurologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., and regional medical director of the Providence Southern California Clinical Research Institute.
Dr Kesari said this was a “very exciting study,” opening up understanding of how aging occurs and how we can measure it at the DNA level.
“And it turns out that it’s not just the accumulation of mutations in DNA, which we think is one of the main factors that cause age-related disorders, … but more of how DNA is read that really contributes to aging,” explained Dr. Kesari. “And as we age, the reading of DNA is greatly affected. (This) really opens up a new way of thinking about aging, but it also opens up a new way of thinking about targeting aging through the development of drugs that affect how the cell reads DNA.”
Because this study was conducted on an animal model, Dr. Kesari said the next question and challenge will be understanding how individuals age in the real world — what tests are required, and how scientists can monitor poor aging.
“And then doing really smart studies to look at biomarkers that give you a signal that you’re actually affecting aging in a positive way.” “What are those signs? What medications can we do to test for that?”
“Certainly, we don’t want to wait (for) 10, 20 or 30 years to do aging studies, so the challenge is really to identify the markers in humans, … test the drugs, and then have short-term biomarkers that tell us whether they’re working properly,” Dr. concluded.