Scientists have found that a cluster of genetic mutations accelerate the series of cell deaths that lead to ageing.
According to the researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, growing old happens when the genetic mutations in the DNA of the mitochondria triggers cell deaths that may lead to hearing loss, loss of vision, hair fall, weight loss, weakening of the bone structures and less number of red bloods cells. The genetic mutations lead to critical cell death, bringing into focus the concept of programmed cell deaths happening during ageing.
Researchers are hopeful that such knowledge can lead to ways to restore loss of hearing by protecting the DNA of the mitochondria from the genetical mutations.
Such insight could also lead to strategies to restore some functions such as hearing by protecting mitochondrial DNA from naturally occurring mutations.
Researchers who had worked with genetically engineered mice that ages faster, have said that the symptoms of aging is more emphatic in some critical cells that are adult stem cells and hence are required for replacing the dying cells. This may lead to impairment of the regeneration process of the bone marrow, intestines and the hair follicles.
Reference: Science, July 2005