About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Liver in Mice Prevented from Ageing: Study

by Rajashri on August 11, 2008 at 2:35 PM
Font : A-A+

 Liver in Mice Prevented from Ageing: Study

The ageing process in mice livers has been stopped for the first time by halting the accumulation of harmful proteins inside the organ's cells, a new study has said.

This is the first time that age-related decline due to protein build-up has been arrested in an entire organ or in a live animal, it said.

Advertisement

The findings could pave the way to therapies for life-threatening liver conditions common in the late stages of life, the study said.

They could even lead to a recipe for boosting longevity.

In experiments, livers in genetically modified mice 22-to-26 months old -- the equivalent of octogenarians in human years -- cleaned blood as efficiently as those in animals a quarter their age.
Advertisement

By contrast, the livers of normal mice in a control group began to fail.

The benefits of restoring the cleaning mechanisms found inside all cells could extend far beyond a single organ, said the study's main architect Ana Maria Cuervo, a researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in New York City.

"Our findings are particularly relevant for neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's," she told AFP.

"Many of these diseases are due to 'misbehaving' or damaged proteins that accumulate in neurons. By preventing this decline in protein clearance, we may be able to keep these people free of symptoms for a longer time," she explained in a e-mail.

If the body's ability to dispose of cell debris within the cell were enhanced across a wider range of tissues, she added, it could extend life as well.

The study goes a long way toward settling a sharp debate in the booming field of aeging research.

Published online in the British journal Nature Medicine, it shows that the failure to remove damaged proteins are a cause, and not the consequence, of the reduced functions that characterises the biological endgame.

Cuervo's experiments also point to at least one way those functions can be fixed.

In healthy organisms, a surveillance system inside cells called chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) locates, digests and destroys damaged proteins.

Specialised molecules -- the "chaperones" -- ferry the harmful material to membrane-bound sacs of enzymes within the cells known as lysosomes.

Once the cargo has been "docked", a receptor molecule transfers the protein into the sac, where it is rapidly digested.

With age, these receptors stop working as well, resulting in a dangerous build up of faulty proteins that has been linked -- in the liver -- to insulin resistance as well as the inability to metabolise sugar, fats or alcohol.

The same breakdown of the cell's cleaning machinery can also impair the liver's ability to remove the toxic build-up of drugs at a stage in life when medication is often part of daily diet.

In genetically modified mice, Cuervo compensated for the loss of the receptors in the animals by adding extra copies. "That was enough to maintain a clean liver and to prove that if you keep your cells clean they work better," she explained.

Genetic manipulation is not an option for humans. But Cuervo said her results are likely to spur research to develop drugs that can mimic the results of the experiment, and to extend them to other kinds of tissue.

"Now that we know that repairing that defect is enough to restore a system to its 'youth', we will start screening compounds," she said.

"In light of the enormous improvement that we observed, my opinion is that repairing other systems will have a similar effect."

It is also possible that the same kind of "cellular clearance" can be achieved through diet, she said.

Research over the last decade has shown that restricted calorie intake in animals, including mammals, significantly enhances longevity.

In research yet to be published, Cuervo has found that calorie restriction prevents the age-related decrease in CMA.

"My ideal intervention in the future would be a better diet rather than a pill," she commented.

Source: AFP
RAS/L
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Turmeric: Magic Ingredient to Keep you Healthy in Winter
Top 7 Benefits of Good Oral Hygiene
Healthy and Safer Thanksgiving 2021
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Hepatitis A Liver Wilson's Disease Milk Thistle Current Treatments for Liver Cancer Fatty Liver Disease: A Growing Health Problem in India Living Donor Liver Transplant: What Are the Risks? 

Recommended Reading
Anti-Aging Skin Treatments Without Surgery Are Effective: Dermatologists
Wrinkles, creases, sagging skin make many dread the onset of old age, but researchers say that some ...
Wrinkles and Creases Successfully Treated by Anti-aging Treatments
University of Michigan scientists have revealed that some of these treatments do help in overcoming ...
Anti-aging Treatments can Treat Wrinkles, Creases
While wrinkles, deep creases, saggy areas around the mouth and neck make many cringe in old age, ......
Current Treatments for Liver Cancer
Current Treatments for Liver Cancer (also known as hepatoma or hepatocellular carcinoma) can result ...
Fatty Liver Disease: A Growing Health Problem in India
Non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the leading cause of liver dysfunction worldwide and is...
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is the most benign of the hepatitis viruses and usually has no long term side effects. H...
Living Donor Liver Transplant: What Are the Risks?
The risk of dying as a result of a living donor liver segment removal is between 0.2-2.0%. The risk ...
Milk Thistle
Milk Thistle is a resourceful natural plant which has many medicinal benefits. In herbal medication ...
Wilson's Disease
This is a rare inherited systemic disorder of copper metabolism, affecting the liver mainly before o...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use