Thursday, November 03, 2011

Cell Study Finds a Way to Slow Ravages of Age

Having spent two years in a laboratory studying the mechanism of age related macular degneration, I have long suspected that the accumulation of toxins from senescent cells may be responsible for some of the devastating effects on vision which can happen in this condition. This study gives further credence to this idea...

Scientists may have found a way to put off some conditions of aging, according to a study in which they postponed or even prevented such afflictions as cataracts and wrinkle-inducing fat loss in mice by removing cells that had stopped dividing.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., found for the first time that by using a drug to target and kill senescent cells, they could essentially freeze some aspects of the aging process.
Though the research, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, is in its very early stages, it suggests that senescent-cell clearance could be one path to staying healthy while aging.
When cells become senescent, they produce harmful compounds such as those that cause inflammation. Chronic tissue inflammation with aging is thought to underlie dementia, atherosclerosis and diabetes, among other ills, according to James Kirkland, head of Mayo's Center on Aging, who was also an author of the study.
In the study reported on Wednesday, the team used mice designed to age faster than normal and treated them with a drug that identifies cells that have stopped dividing. The drug then initiates the natural process that leads to cell death by puncturing the membranes of those cells alone.
The researchers treated some mice over the course of their lifetimes and found a "quite dramatic delay" in the development of cataracts and age-related changes to muscle and fat, Dr. van Deursen said.

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