Researchers made the first rejuvenation of animals suffering from premature aging by a particular enzyme activation in cells of tissues. The researchers reported that this method can be used to prevent aging in humans.
The authors of publications have demonstrated the blocking effect of the enzyme telomerase, followed by its "inclusion" in specially bred mice genetic line. The function of telomerase in cell elongation is the end portions of chromosomes, called telomeres. Recent decrease in the length of each new cell division, but because after they reach a certain length of further division does not occur, and the cell dies. The flow of the process in all tissues of the body and causes aging.
For this reason, the use of telomerase to lengthen telomeres can be a tool to substantially extend life. Studies in recent decades have shown that telomeres are much more complex components of cells than previously thought and their simple extension to prolong life can cause negative side effects.
In its work, the group of researchers led by Ronald De Pino (Ronald DePinho) has demonstrated that forced the launch of telomerase in tissue cells can be used to combat human illnesses associated with not natural, and premature aging of the body.
Researchers have brought a special genetic line of mice in which the work of telomerase was blocked, but could be re-activated by the action of a specific chemical.
In the experiment, the scientists have shown that telomere shortening in these animals takes place extremely rapidly, while the mouse itself very quickly grow old, lose their reproductive function and are affected by a range of geriatric diseases, including osteoporosis, diabetes and degradation of nerve tissue.
To their surprise, the researchers found that the "activation" of telomerase in the animals have already reached maturity, can draw many of these processes are reversed. Thus, the animals in the experiment regained reproductive function and their organs — the liver, spleen, intestines, and others — have recovered from his degenerative condition.
According to De Pino, this study shows that activation of telomerase can be used to treat rare diseases in humans associated with premature aging, and probably for the development of methods of rejuvenation of the human body, extending the life of the people.
The article with the results of these studies, published in the journal Nature.
However, the experts whose opinion leads online edition of Nature NEWS, believe that the impact on the natural processes of aging by activating telomerase can be fraught with negative consequences, and even the development of cancer, as the role of telomeres in the body of today has not been established.