Cell change ‘keeps organs young’

By | August 13, 2008

Researchers may have found a way to halt the biological clock which slows down our bodies over the decades.

A US team thinks it may have found the genetic levers to help boost a system vital to cleaning up faulty proteins within our cells. The journal Nature Medicine reported that the livers of genetically-altered older mice worked as well as those in younger animals.

They suggested it might one day help people with progressive brain diseases. … The fundamental chemicals of cells – proteins – often have very short working lives, and need to be cleared away and recycled as soon as possible. The body has a system for doing just that, but it becomes progressively less efficient as we get older. This leads to progressive falls in the function of major organs – the heart, liver and brain, some of which contribute to the diseases of old age. Dr Ana Maria Cuervo, from Yeshiva, created a mouse with two genetic alterations. …When examined at two years old, the liver cells of these mice were far more effective at recycling protein compared with normal mice. When the overall liver function of the very old genetically-modified mice was tested, they performed at a comparable level to much younger mice. … “It’s not often you see studies where they have managed to improve function in this way. “What they seem to have managed is to maintain the mice at this young stage, and both restore and maintain normal activity.” He said that it should, in theory, be possible to achieve the same effect across the whole body. – bbc

I wonder if people alive today will have the option to choose to live 200 years or more.

Leave a Reply