23 July 2009

The fight against aging: a new approach to an old problem

Protein that slows down the aging process of tissues has been identifiedDmitry Safin, Compulenta
A group of researchers from Singapore and the USA presented a detailed description of the protein p38MAPK (p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase), which, as it turned out, has an indirect effect on the aging process.

The authors of the work were able to establish that this protein regulates the functioning of another protein — p16, the connection of which with the aging process of tissues was shown earlier.

Observing the development of genetically modified mice with reduced p38MAPK activity, scientists noted a slowdown in the aging of some organs, as well as an acceleration of the growth and regeneration of beta cells in special areas of the pancreas - the islets of Langerhans. Beta cells produce insulin; a decrease in the production of this hormone leads to the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus. When the concentration of p38MAPK was artificially overestimated, the growth of beta cells stopped, and the mice developed insulin resistance syndrome.

The solid line on this graph corresponds to the control group of mice, the dotted line corresponds to mice with increased Wip1 activity. The researchers injected both groups with a solution of streptozocin, a substance that destroys beta cells. (Illustration by the authors of the work.)

Since p38MAPK is closely related to the anti-oncogene p16, whose activity should not fall below a certain value, the authors additionally assessed the "safety" of genetic changes in terms of the likelihood of cancer. It turned out that partial inactivation of p38MAPK allows delaying the onset of age-related changes in tissues and does not have a noticeable effect on the functioning of p16.

"Experts have long known that p38MAPK is involved in the development of inflammatory diseases, and clinical trials of some pharmacological methods for limiting the activity of this protein have already begun," said Dmitry Bulavin, lead author of the work, representing the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the Singapore Agency for Science, Technology and Research. — Probably, similar pharmacological methods can be used in the fight against aging."

By analyzing the natural factors affecting the protein in a living organism, the researchers found that the Wip1 protein has a negative effect on p38MAPK and promotes the restoration of pancreatic functions in aging mice. The fight against aging, as scientists note, can be carried out in this direction.

The full version of the researchers' report is published in the journal Developmental Cell.

Prepared based on the materials of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (Singapore): Combating Aging: New Insights Into Old Problems.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru23.07.2009

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