12 September 2017

Programmed aging

Scientists have discovered a genetic program of aging of the human brain

RIA News

Scottish geneticists have found in human DNA a kind of "program" of brain aging that controls its development throughout a person's life and is associated with the development of schizophrenia, according to an article published in the journal eLife.

"The discovery of this genetic program opens up a completely new way to study how human behavior changes and how often he is affected by various brain diseases at different stages of life. The end result of all these studies may be the creation of tools that change the course of brain aging," said Seth Grant, a geneticist from the University of Edinburgh (in the message Brain aging controlled by gene program – VM).

In recent years, a debate has been revived among scientists about what is the aging process and the death of humans and animals. Some biologists and evolutionists believe that this process is not random, and that it is controlled by a kind of "death program" – a certain set of genes that causes the body to become decrepit and die, giving way to a new generation of their own kind.

Trying to understand whether this is really the case, American geneticists have recently discovered a whole set of genes potentially related to the work of this "aging program", violations in the functioning of which may explain why some people and African rodents, naked diggers, live several decades longer than the rest of the inhabitants of the planet and representatives of their relatives types of animals.

Relatively recently, scientists discovered a special zone in the brain of mice that controls the aging of the brain and the whole organism, but the principles of its operation remained a mystery to biologists at that time.

Grant and his colleagues took the first step towards uncovering the mechanisms of the brain aging program by analyzing which genes are active in neurons and auxiliary cells of the nervous system at different stages of life.

To do this, geneticists had to analyze a huge array of data and experimental results accumulated over the past three decades, and identify those genes associated with the work of the brain, whose activity level changed in childhood, adulthood and old age. The fruit of this search was the discovery of several dozen genes and short RNA molecules, the main carriers of information inside cells, the functioning of which changes greatly during the onset of maturity and old age.

These changes, as scientists note, affect not only neurons, but also glial cells and other auxiliary brain tissues, and most of them begin at the age of 26-30. At this time, as scientists note, there is a serious restructuring of the brain and many of its departments and cell types begin to work differently than in youth and childhood. These changes begin to occur earlier in the brains of men, which indicates that the brains of women age more slowly. Similar changes occur, as the observations of the authors of the article have shown, in the brains of mice, adjusted for the difference in the life expectancy of humans and rodents.

Such a nature of the work of the "aging program" of the brain, as noted by geneticists, may explain why schizophrenia most often affects young people aged 25-30 years. Malfunctions in its functioning associated with breakdowns in the genes encoding this program can cause serious disruptions to the nervous system and generate "voices in the head" and other characteristic features of schizophrenia.

For example, the genes Atp2a2, Eef2 and Itpr1, associated with the development of Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia, change their work especially strongly at maturity. The search for DNA sites encoding the program that controls all these genes can not only help find a way to cure schizophrenia, but also slow down the aging process of the brain.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru  12.09.2017

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