Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center may have made a crucial discovery in the understanding of cellular aging.
In a study published in the Nov. 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the researchers report that as cells and tissues age, the expression of two proteins called p16INK4a and ARF dramatically increases. This increase in expression, more than a hundredfold in some tissues, suggests a strong link between cellular aging and the upregulation, or increased production, of p16INK4a and ARF.
"At the very least, our work suggests that looking at the expression of one or both proteins will make a great biomarker of aging - a tool to clinically determine the actual molecular age of people, as opposed to just their chronological age," said Lineberger member Dr. Norman Sharpless, the senior author of the study and assistant professor of medicine and genetics at UNCs School of Medicine. "We all know people that we consider to be a young 65, and we believe they wont demonstrate as much p16INK4a or ARF expression as others of the same age."
Leslie H. Lang | EurekAlert!
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