By undoing the changes in gene activity which are brought about by everyday life, scientists have started to slow and even reverse, aging. New research suggests it is possible to slow or even reverse aging, at least in mice, by undoing changes in gene activity, these are same changes that are caused by decades of life in humans.
The scientists at Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California reversed the aging mouse and human cells in vitro by adjusting genes which turn adult cells back into embryonic-like ones in mice and have significant success extending their lives. The changes involved the reversal of mouse and human cells in vitro, which extended the life of one mouse with an accelerated-aging condition and also successfully promoted recovery from an injury in the middle-aged mouse.
According to Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, professor in the Gene Expression Laboratories at the Salk the research’s senior author and also an expert in gene expression at Salk: “aging is something plastic that we can manipulate.” His work has been influential in our understanding of the cellular and molecular basis of how an organism with millions of cells develops from a single cell embryo after fertilization. These discoveries may have implications for disease treatment, as well as organ and tissue regeneration and aging.
The research is continuing at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
In their research, they rejuvenated cells by briefly turning on 4 genes that can turn adult cells back into an embryonic-like state.
According to David Sinclair, a Harvard University geneticist and anti-aging researcher, who developed RESVERATROL formulations and its derivatives as activators of the SIRT1 enzyme. According to him these molecules in 100 years from now people would be taking daily to stop their aging, Sinclair wasn’t himself involved in study with Carlos Belmonte but agreed to Belmonte’s work, “I do think that epigenetic reprogramming is the ultimate way to reverse aging.”
Matt Kaeberlein, a molecular biologist at the University of Washington who studies aging but wasn’t part of the work, suggests it might be possible not just to slow aging but also to reverse it. “That’s really exciting—that means that even in elderly people it may be possible to restore youthful function,” he claims.
The molecular biology community is still humming, and our life expectancies keep extending.
References: Minds, Scientific American