Biology, Biomedical

Senescent cells, ageing and calorie restriction in 2018.

Cellular ageing has been shown to lead to age related pathologies.

Many diseases that occur late in life are caused by the inability of cells, especially stem cells to replicate. Creating treatments for this phenomenon is a challenge. Experts suggest that the solution to this is to maintain cells over time periodically. This may be done through drugs or supplements that extend health and life span. More aggressive methods like stem cell transplants are less understood. Although this may become a reality in 10 years or os, for now we are ar from such goals.

First we should look at how cellular senescence works. How cells at a certain point in life become unable to replicate and the same cells that end up in your body gather mutations, refuse to die and thus pathologies emerge. Several things have been attempted to increase health span. One of he most popular approaches has been caloric restriction. By restricting the caloric intake of mice, it was found that lifespan increased.

Some studies have found that this isn’t true, while others still report significant results. A very recent study from 2018 showed that caloric restriction does indeed help. This was true for both humans and mice. The study while relatively small, showed significant values in terms of senescent cells counts being lower. This may be promising, but we need a lot more values to find out which genes are responsible for most of the difference.

Another recent study from this June, found out that the genes that induce senescence in some cases are not responsible for regular ageing. Ageing is so complex that genes associated with senescence are not always associated with normal ageing and genes associated with ageing are mostly inflammation genes.

While ageing is complex, those studies show promise, and they show that small steps can lead to discoveries that have significant results. Hopefully we will see new targets for postponing ageing and age related disease soon.

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Sources: Lung cellular senescence is independent of aging in a mouse model of COPD/emphysema

The effects of graded caloric restriction: XII. Comparison of mouse to human impact on cellular senescence in the colon

Image: Photo via “ Good Free Photos

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