Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers identify molecular markers of aging

05.11.2004


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 UNC’s School of Medicine. "We all know people that we consider to be a young 65, and we believe they won’t demonstrate as much p16INK4a or ARF expression as others of the same age."


In addition to identifying molecular targets that may slow aging in the future, the study may also suggest immediate clinical applications. Knowing the molecular age of a tissue may also enable physicians to select the "youngest" most viable tissues and organs for transplantation, to predict how well a patient will heal after surgery and, by being able to characterize the regenerative ability of a patient’s bone marrow, predict future toxicity of chemotherapy in a cancer patient.

Both p16INK4a and ARF are known potent tumor suppressors, or proteins that halt tumor cell growth. The study suggests that the important anti-cancer function of these proteins to limit cellular growth might in turn cause aging. "Proliferation of cells is important in the repair and regrowth of tissues. In fact, we grow old in part because our bodies’ ability to regenerate tissues decreases as we age," Sharpless said. "We believe an untoward effect of increased p16INK4a and ARF expression outside of cancer is a decrease in cellular proliferation needed to sustain this regeneration."

The researchers also found that the increase in p16INK4a and ARF can be substantially inhibited by decreasing caloric intake, a known retardant of aging. This result suggests that decreased expression of p16INK4a and ARF could mediate the known anti-aging effects of caloric restriction. "Our results suggest that going on a short-term diet will not reverse the aging process; only long-term restrictions appeared to have an effect on p16INK4a and ARF expression. Therefore, our results would not be consistent with the idea that short-term caloric restriction prior to surgery would improve post-operative wound healing," Sharpless said.

The work has strong implications for stem cell renewal, he added. Stem cells are self-replenishing cells that constantly divide and differentiate into the component cells that make up the tissues in the human body and are found in particularly high number in the bone marrow, as well as organs such as the skin, kidney and liver. "As tissue stem cells age, they appear to express more p16INK4a and ARF, which would stop those cells from replenishing," Sharpless said. "As people age, they could just run out of functioning stem cells."

Depletion of stem cells could affect the ability of the body to heal after injury or surgery and may also predict the ability of certain diseases, such as cardiomyopathy, to progress," he added.

Along with Sharpless, study co-authors from UNC Lineberger are postdoctoral researchers Drs. Janakiraman Krishnamurthy and Grigoriy Kovalev, research technician Chad Torrice, graduate student Matthew Ramsey, and UNC Lineberger member Dr. Lishan Su, also associate professor of microbiology and immunology. Co-author Dr. Khalid Al-Regaiey is from Southern Illinois University’s departments of physiology and internal medicine.

Leslie H. Lang | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.med.unc.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

nachricht Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>