16 December 2014

Is the secret of longevity in collagen?

Researchers at the Joslin Center for the Study of Diabetes, working under the guidance of Dr. Keith Blackwell, in experiments on roundworms Caenorhabditis elegans identified a previously unknown mechanism, manipulation of which can form the basis of the action of new drugs to slow aging and prevent the development of associated chronic diseases.

The authors studied the effects of influences that obviously increase the lifespan of C.elegans nematodes (including a low-calorie diet and the drug rapamycin) on the expression of genes that produce collagen and other proteins of the extracellular matrix, which is a kind of framework supporting tissues, organs and bones.

The results showed that each of the interventions under consideration increased the expression of genes encoding collagen and other components of the extracellular matrix, thereby stimulating the process of its restructuring. Apparently, the activation of the production of these compounds is a key mechanism for increasing the lifespan of roundworms.

This mechanism is based on the activation of the SKN-1 gene, which regulates many reactions of the body to stress, including significantly increasing the expression of collagen genes and other components of the extracellular matrix. The analogue of this gene in the human genome is represented by a whole complex of regulatory genes known as Nrf-1, Nrf-2 and Nrf-3.

Proteins of the collagen family are the main component of connective tissue and make up about a third of all proteins in the human body. They are part of all tissues and organs and form a framework that provides flexibility and strength of the human body. However, with age, these structures gradually wear out and lose their properties. Moreover, collagens are involved in the development of a number of diseases, ranging from complications of diabetes mellitus to diseases of the cardiovascular system, bone tissue and kidneys.

The results obtained by the authors can form the basis of a new direction in the search for the secrets of longevity and help in the development of drugs to slow down aging and prevent the development and progression of chronic age-related diseases. Moreover, the authors believe that such drugs can act as a kind of cosmetic products that have an effect on the condition of the skin from within the body.

Article by Collin Y. Ewald et al. Dauer-independent insulin/IGF-1-signaling implies collagen remodelling in longevity published in the journal Nature.

Evgeniya Ryabtseva
Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru based on the materials of the Joslin Diabetes Center:
Joslin Discovery May Hold Clues to Treatments that Slow Aging and Prevent Age-Related Chronic Disease.


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