General, Research, Technology

Is it possible to prolong life by cleansing the body of old cells?

Today, scientists know that over timeour cells accumulate damage in DNA. Some cells successfully correct the damage, while others self-destruct. And the third - retire - cease to grow or share and enter a state that we call aging. With age, the number of such cells in the body increases and along the way they become involved in the health problems that accompany the aging process. In a work published in the journal Nature, researchers cleared the body of mice of old cells, thereby significantly improving the health status of rodents and even prolonging some lives.

Shot from the movie “Mr. Nobody,” whose main character turned out to be the last person in history to die of old age

Aging body cells - the cause of poor health at age

Researchers at the College of Medicine ClinicMayo (USA) came to an amazing discovery - they were able to slow down aging and significantly improve the condition of the kidneys, heart and adipose tissue in rodents. After cleansing the body of old cells, the animals were healthier, and in some cases lived longer. According to The Atlantic, the work may be the most important discovery in the study of aging in history. But how did scientists succeed?

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In 2004, the authors of the study accidentallyfound that disabling a gene called BubR1 - which they originally thought to be related to cancer - actually accelerated the aging process. Cataracts developed in mice, heart diseases appeared, and weight loss was observed. As a result, all rodents that disconnected the BubR1 gene died much earlier than mice that did not disconnect the gene. Later, the researchers found that much more aging cells accumulated in their body. By 2011, the team had already developed a method for isolating and removing these cells in mice that had the BubR1 gene disabled. The results were impressive: when the aging cells disappeared, the health status of rodents improved significantly. The next step of the researchers was the removal of old cells from the body of normal mice.

The health status of mice that underwent a process of purification from old cells has improved

Healthy middle-aged mice whose genome is notwas edited twice a week to cleanse the body of aging cells. This time, this researchers managed to increase the average life expectancy of rodents by a quarter. When the mice became older, they lost less fat, the heart and kidneys were in good condition, and the development of cataracts decreased markedly. Moreover, all rodents have become more active. To double-check the results, the researchers tested a large number of mice of both sexes, with different genetic characteristics and differences in nutrition - and the results were always the same.

Will a cure for aging be created?

The main reason for the negative effects of aging onhealth is that aging cells secrete molecules that cause inflammation and enzymes that destroy connective tissue. During the study, scientists isolated from 50 to 60 different molecules that these cells produce. Each of these molecules can cause significant damage to body tissues. So, the accumulation of damage in DNA can potentially lead to cancer. The molecules that secrete aging cells induce the immune system to cleanse them. But with age, the immune system weakens and aging cells accumulate. As a result, molecules become not a solution but a problem.

Old cells gradually destroy the body

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That cleansing the body of old cellshad a positive effect on the health of rodents - strikingly and in a sense, it is logical, given the weak immune system in old age. But will such a procedure be safe for humans? Most likely, any attempt to cleanse aging cells in humans will have serious side effects, as well as obvious benefits. One way or another, further research is needed. At this stage, scientists intend to use the results in the treatment of diseases caused by aging cells and localized in certain parts of the body. But in any case, these are truly revolutionary results. It is possible that in the future there will be a medicine that slows down the aging process.

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