‘Anti-aging’ longevity gene makes heart ten years younger

(ORDO NEWS) — According to scientists, the transfer of the LAV-BPIFB4 gene helps keep the heart young, protecting it from diseases associated with aging.

A team of scientists from the IRCCS MultiMedica Institute in Milan, the University of Udine (Italy), the Medical School at the University of Bristol and the University of Cardiff in Wales (UK) showed that the introduction of the so-called anti-aging gene, previously found in centenarians, helps to stop the deterioration of heart function in the experimental average age, and in the case of the elderly, to rejuvenate this important organ.

People have been looking for ways to extend their lives for a long time. Almost every one of us at one time or another decides to end bad habits, eat right, be physically active, stress less, spend more time in nature, take various vitamins to live longer, and use skin care products to look younger.

None of the above works for some. Aging remains a natural and for the most part inevitable process, worsens the quality of life and brings the end closer.

Like all organs and systems of the body, the heart also undergoes a number of changes with age: its functions deteriorate, and even available methods of treatment are sometimes unable to help.

Nevertheless, some lucky people manage to overcome the centennial milestone with little or no effort (a lot of research has been devoted to these centenarians ), and maintain good health until the very late stage of life due to a favorable combination of mutation in genes and environmental factors.

“We have previously shown that carriers of the longevity-associated variant (LAV) of the BPIFB4 gene have a longer life expectancy and are less prone to cardiovascular complications.

In addition, transfer of LAV-BPIFB4 through an adeno-associated viral vector improves cardiovascular performance in model organisms with lower limb ischemia, atherosclerosis, and diabetes.

We now wondered if LAV-BPIFB4 could fulfill the therapeutic need to slow the spontaneous aging of the heart,” said the authors of the new paper.

According to their study, transferring the LAV-BPIFB4 gene, which is indeed particularly common in centenarians, to mice stopped the deterioration of heart function in middle-aged animals.

When this gene was injected into old rodents, whose hearts showed the same changes as those in elderly human patients, the organ was rejuvenated by ten years – in the human equivalent.

Cardiac function and myocardial perfusion were improved by increasing the density of the microvasculature, a system of small vessels, and by covering with pericytes, which are part of the walls of small blood vessels, including capillaries.

In addition to the mice, the researchers injected LAV-BPIFB4 in vitro into the heart cells of older people with severe heart disease, and then compared their function with healthy control cells .

“The cells of older patients in particular, pericytes, which support the formation of new blood vessels were less efficient and older.

By adding LAV-BPIFB4 in vitro, we observed the process of heart rejuvenation: the cells of aged patients with heart failure resumed normal functioning and showed efficiency in the formation of new blood vessels,” the authors of the work noted.

They hope this research could lead to new treatments for cardiovascular disease and rare diseases such as progeria.

The next step is to see if introducing a protein instead of a gene can work just as well, as it would be safer and more viable than gene therapy.

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