A Swedish research has suggested that measuring the lactic acid levels in the brain could reveal the aging process, in mice at least.
Researchers at the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, have revealed that a build-up of the chemical in the brain was a hallmark of the ageing process, reports the New Scientist.
Jaime Ross and his colleagues investigated how ageing was affected by damage to the DNA in mouse mitochondria, the energy-producing part of cells.
The team modified mitochondrial DNA, producing a mouse strain that aged prematurely.
In these mice and healthy controls, the time it took for levels of lactic acid in the brain to double correlated with how fast they aged.
Lactic acid is a normal product of metabolism, so Ross's team speculated that age-damaged mitochondria could be affecting metabolic processes.
The brains of both types of mice showed damage to the genes responsible for lactate regulation.
Future studies might reveal if changes in brain lactate were linked to neurodegenerative disease in humans, said Ross.
The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.