(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have found that triggering the cell’s response to stress, which in roundworms “turns off” at the post-reproductive age, can slow down aging and increase life expectancy.
To do this, the researchers put the worms on a diet high in glucose, but they do not advise people to repeat this.
Aging is a critical risk factor for various pathologies, from metabolic disorders such as diabetes to cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
Now scientists from Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) have shown that the response of roundworm cells to stress can be turned on by adjusting their diet, and this will increase the lifespan of animals.
While further research will be needed to better understand this connection, the scientists believe their findings open the way for the development of new treatments that can help delay the onset of age-related disorders and slow aging.
When interacting with certain stress factors, such as excess glucose, unfolded or unfolded proteins can accumulate in cells.
In such a situation, the cell reacts with a certain sequence of actions aimed at stopping the synthesis of new proteins, getting rid of the unfolded ones and activating the enzymes that are involved in protein folding. If the problem is not corrected, the cell undergoes programmed death.
Aging also results in an accumulation of unfolded proteins due to the natural decline in the cell’s ability to produce properly folded proteins, triggering the same stress response.
To investigate how the response to unfolded proteins affects animal lifespan, the authors of the article studied the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans . Of course, C. elegans is anatomically much simpler than humans, but they share many similar genes with us that control cell division and programmed cell death.
During the experiment, the scientists put young and old worms on a diet high in glucose. The control group received normal food. The researchers found that the old worms fed the high-glucose diet lived almost twice as long as the control worms.
In addition, they were more active, which was indicative of their healthier aging. According to the authors of the work, the diet activated dormant molecular responses in old worms to unfolded proteins and made it possible to overcome the stress associated with aging.
While the new study shows that a high-glucose diet may be helpful in slowing down aging and extending the lifespan of old roundworms, scientists do not recommend that older people consume large amounts of sugar, as this can lead to undesirable consequences.
However, further research in this area may lead to the creation of specialized drugs aimed at activating certain molecular reactions, which will slow down aging and increase life expectancy.
Contact us: [email protected]