Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A mother’s genes can hasten her child’s ageing process

22.08.2013
When we age, our cells change and become damaged. Now, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing and Karolinska Institutet have shown that ageing is determined not only by the accumulation of cell damage during our lifetime but also by the genetic material we acquire from our mothers. The results of the study are published in the scientific periodical Nature.

There are many causes of ageing, a process that is determined by an accumulation of various kinds of cell damage that impair the function of bodily organs. Of particular importance to ageing, however, seems to be the damage that occurs in the cell’s power plant – the mitochondrion.

“The mitochondrion contains its own DNA, the so-called mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA, which changes more than the DNA in the nucleus, and this has a significant impact on the ageing process,” says Nils-Göran Larsson, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, also a professor in Mitochondrial Genetics at Karolinska Institutet (KI) and leader of the current study alongside Professor Lars Olson (KI). “Many mutations in the mitochondria gradually disable the cell’s energy production.”

Now, however, the researchers have shown that the ageing process is attributable not only to the accumulation of mtDNA damage during a person’s lifetime, but also to their maternally inherited mtDNA.

“Surprisingly, we also show that our mother’s mitochondrial DNA seems to influence our own ageing,” says Professor Larsson. “If we inherit mtDNA with mutations from our mother, we age more quickly.”

Normal and damaged DNA is passed down from generation to generation. However, the question of whether it is possible to affect the degree of mtDNA damage through, for example, lifestyle intervention

is yet to be investigated. All that the researchers know now is that mild mtDNA damage is transferred from the mother and contributes to the ageing process.

They also show in the current study that low levels of mutated mtDNA have developmental effects and may cause deformities of the brain when they are accompanied by large amounts of mtDNA mutations that occur over the lifetime.

“Our findings can shed more light on the ageing process and prove that the mitochondria play a key part in ageing. They also show that it’s important to reduce the number of mutations,” says Professor Larsson.

The data published in the paper come from experiments on mice. The researchers now intend to continue their work on mice, and on fruit flies, to investigate whether reducing the number of mutations can extend their lifespan.

Original publication:
Jaime M. Ross, James B. Stewart, Erik Hagström, Stefan Brené, Arnaud Mourier, Giuseppe Coppotelli, Christoph Freyer, Marie Lagouge, Barry J. Hoffer, Lars Olson, and Nils-Göran Larsson
Germline mitochondrial DNA mutations aggravate ageing and can impair brain development


Nature, Epub ahead of print: Aug 21, 2013, DOI: 10.1038/nature12474

Contact:

Prof. Dr. Nils-Göran Larsson
Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, D-Cologne
Tel: +49 221 478 89 771
Mobile: +46 7020 97 155, +49 (0)171 55 01 448
E-mail: larsson@age.mpg.de
Press & Public Relations:
Sabine Dzuck
Tel.: +49 (0)221 379 70 304
Mobile: +49 (0)151 628 03 539
E-mail: sabine.dzuck@age.mpg.de

Sabine Dzuck | Max-Planck-Institut
Further information:
http://www.age.mpg.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona

nachricht Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>