The report is the latest finding in the Einstein researchers’ ongoing search for genetic clues to longevity through their study that by now has recruited more than 450 Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jews between the ages of 95 and 110. Descended from a small founder group, Ashkenazi Jews are more genetically uniform than other groups, making it easier to spot gene differences that are present. In 2003, this study resulted in the first two “longevity genes” ever identified—findings that have since been validated by other research.
The present study focused on genes involved in the action of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I), a hormone that in humans is regulated by human growth hormone. Affecting virtually every cell type in the body, IGF-I is crucially important for children’s growth and continues contributing to tissue synthesis into adulthood. The IGF-I cell-signaling pathway is triggered when IGF-I molecules circulating in blood plasma latch onto receptors on the surface of cells, causing a signal to be sent to the cell’s nucleus that may, for example, tell that cell to divide.
Animal research had shown that mutations to genes involved in the IGF-I signaling pathway cause two effects: Affected animals have impaired growth but also longer life spans. So the Einstein scientists reasoned that altered signaling in this pathway might also influence human longevity. To find out, they analyzed IGF-I-related genetic variations in 384 Ashkenazi Jewish centenarians. And since plasma levels of IGF-I do not reflect their levels at a younger age, the researchers also looked at two other groups: the children of these centenarians, and a control group consisting of Ashkenazi Jews the same age as the centenarians’ children but with no family history of longevity.
Remarkably, the female children of the centenarians had IGF-I plasma levels that were 35 percent higher than female controls—perhaps a sign that the body was compensating for a glitch in IGF-I signaling by secreting increased amounts of the hormone. That suspicion was strengthened by two other findings: the daughters of centenarians were 2.5 cm shorter than female controls; and when the researchers analyzed the gene coding for the IGF-I cell-surface receptor molecule to which the IGF-I hormone binds, the receptor genes of centenarians and their daughters were much more likely to have a variety of mutations than were the receptor genes of the controls.
“Our findings suggest that, by interfering with IGF-I signaling, these gene mutations somehow play a role in extending the human life span, as they do in many other organisms,” says Dr. Nir Barzilai, senior author of the study and director of the Institute for Aging Research at Einstein.
Dr. Barzilai notes that a drug that decreases IGF-I action is currently being tested as a cancer treatment and could be useful in delaying aging. “Since the subjects in our study have been exposed to their mutations since conception, it is not clear whether people would need such a therapy throughout life or if it could help people who received it at a later time.”
Karen Gardner | EurekAlert!
Colorectal cancer: Increased life expectancy thanks to individualised therapies
20.02.2020 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Sweet beaks: What Galapagos finches and marine bacteria have in common
20.02.2020 | Max-Planck-Institut für Marine Mikrobiologie
The operational speed of semiconductors in various electronic and optoelectronic devices is limited to several gigahertz (a billion oscillations per second). This constrains the upper limit of the operational speed of computing. Now researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay have explained how these processes can be sped up through the use of light waves and defected solid materials.
Light waves perform several hundred trillion oscillations per second. Hence, it is natural to envision employing light oscillations to drive the electronic...
Most natural and artificial surfaces are rough: metals and even glasses that appear smooth to the naked eye can look like jagged mountain ranges under the microscope. There is currently no uniform theory about the origin of this roughness despite it being observed on all scales, from the atomic to the tectonic. Scientists suspect that the rough surface is formed by irreversible plastic deformation that occurs in many processes of mechanical machining of components such as milling.
Prof. Dr. Lars Pastewka from the Simulation group at the Department of Microsystems Engineering at the University of Freiburg and his team have simulated such...
Investigation of the temperature dependence of the skyrmion Hall effect reveals further insights into possible new data storage devices
The joint research project of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that had previously demonstrated...
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, recently completed a 5-year research project looking at how to make fibre optic communications systems more energy efficient. Among their proposals are smart, error-correcting data chip circuits, which they refined to be 10 times less energy consumptive. The project has yielded several scientific articles, in publications including Nature Communications.
Streaming films and music, scrolling through social media, and using cloud-based storage services are everyday activities now.
After helping develop a new approach for organic synthesis -- carbon-hydrogen functionalization -- scientists at Emory University are now showing how this approach may apply to drug discovery. Nature Catalysis published their most recent work -- a streamlined process for making a three-dimensional scaffold of keen interest to the pharmaceutical industry.
"Our tools open up whole new chemical space for potential drug targets," says Huw Davies, Emory professor of organic chemistry and senior author of the paper.
12.02.2020 | Event News
16.01.2020 | Event News
15.01.2020 | Event News
21.02.2020 | Medical Engineering
21.02.2020 | Health and Medicine
21.02.2020 | Physics and Astronomy