The Hypothalamus, Artificial Chromosome, and Exercise: Fighting Aging and Challenges to Success


Author: fokus-lop. Recently, interesting news appeared – scientists have studied the Middle Eastern mole rats and more or less figured out why they live so long – about 20 years. And this despite the fact that most rodents live 3-5 years. As it turned out, mole rats are long-livers due to immunity with short-term “memory”. The lack of long-term “memory” can protect these animals from the development of inflammation and autoimmune reactions.

Scientists are now trying to figure out if this information can help gerontologists to increase the life expectancy of people. In addition, there are other interesting projects. All this is under the cut. The article contains the most interesting projects of gerontologists, which in the long term make it possible to extend the life of each of us by 10–20–30%. Moreover, some scientists are sure that this is not the limit, and with the help of science we will be able to defeat old age. In the meantime, this has not happened – let s see what is already there.

Is it all about the hypothalamus?

A few years ago, people from Silicon Valley, entrepreneur Peter Thiel and ex-Google employee Bill Marris began an interesting project – a study that focuses on the connection between the human brain and the aging process. The team presented the results of their work in a publication for the journal Nature.

It turned out that there is indeed a connection between the brain and aging. In any case, in mice – in their brains, it was possible to find cells that affect the rate of aging of the body. These cells are located in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that is the biochemical center of our nerve node. He also connects the nervous and endocrine regulation of various biochemical processes.

As it turned out, nerve stem cells (NSC) are actively involved in the aging process. When they were removed from some middle-aged mice, the animals aged very quickly – significantly faster than in normal situations. Then, aged mice from another group were treated with NSC of newborn mice. After a while, all “retirees” became more mobile, resilient, their cognitive abilities clearly improved.

It is too early to talk about conducting experiments with humans, but scientists from this team have been conducting additional research for several years, which are designed to shed light on important issues of gerontology.

Exercise hormone

There probably isn t a single life-extension advice article that doesn t talk about the importance of exercise. Examples are given of all sorts of centenarians who, even at 105 years old, work in the garden, take care of animals and perform other physical work.

True, they somehow bypass the attention of centenarians who have not moved very much all their lives, love alcoholic beverages and lean on sweets. But there are, of course, fewer of them than representatives of the “healthy” part.

In general, a team of scientists from the University of Southern California recently discovered that a very powerful hormone called MOTS is released during exercise. Its difference from all others is that it is produced in mitochondria, and not in the cell nucleus.

Experiments with mice showed that MOTS improved the vital performance of animals – those who received the hormone injections did much better than everyone else. At the same time, old mice, which received a series of such injections, began to walk on the treadmill twice as fast. They even managed to outrun much younger animals that had not received any injections.

How to use this achievement? Well, this is further evidence that aging processes are regulated, including at the mitochondrial level. Perhaps the discovery will not radically affect life expectancy, but it will be able to improve the quality of life of older people by reducing the number of negative manifestations of age-related changes.

Telomerase and longevity

According to the WHO, the main cause of most deaths in the world is genetic mechanisms. At the same time, using directed mutations, it is possible to extend the life of … mice. Well, yes, these are the main participants in experiments of this kind.

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Scientists who are investigating the mechanisms of the effect of telomerase on the aging process have conducted an interesting experiment. An “elderly” one-year-old mouse was injected with a specially engineered virus, from which all genetic information was removed, adding only the telomerase gene of the mouse itself. As it turned out, the lifespan of the rodent increased immediately by 13%.

In this experiment, people expressed a desire to take part, and clinical studies were carried out. The results, however, are still unknown. Maybe, of course, now there are several immortal participants in the experiment walking among us. But, most likely, the tests are not over yet, so you need to wait a little longer.

Artificial chromosome

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This is a recent project by Centaura that is dedicated to developing an alternative to CRISPR as the primary genome editing tool. The Human Artificial Chromosome allows you to create a new chromosome, into which scientists upload the necessary genetic information, taking into account the individual characteristics of a person, and then add this chromosome to cells. Accordingly, opportunities are emerging for the treatment of various diseases, including even those that are not associated with aging.

And also – ordinary plasma

Since 2007, another team of scientists led by Tony Weiss-Korey has been studying the effect of plasma transfusion on aging. Several years ago, it was possible to find out that the plasma of young animals (all the same mice, yes), having entered the body of older individuals, has a rejuvenating effect.

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Moreover, this whole process has an important element, without which there is no rejuvenation – this is the TIMP2 protein. It acts as a blocker of metalloproteinases. If it is removed from the plasma, then there is no effect. Now the possibility of using the protein itself, rather than plasma, is being studied.

There seem to be a lot of anti-aging methods, but where are the practical results?

All that is listed above is just a small fraction of projects aimed at combating aging and the processes that cause it. There are several thousand companies working all over the world that are engaged in projects to extend life, slow down the aging process, etc. And this is not talking about biohacking, special diets, retinol and a large number of other real and not so projects.

But the problem is that developing something really effective is extremely difficult. At the same time, companies do not share the results with each other. Sometimes they publish scientific articles describing their work, but more often than not all this is hushed up. According to a study by a group of scientists from Stanford, a quarter of the largest companies working on gerontology problems do not have peer-reviewed publications. And these are only companies whose capitalization exceeds $ 1 billion. But there are thousands of others, large and not so big. The lack of exchange of experience leads to a slowdown in work on the “cure for old age.”

Realizing this, some companies are trying to collect data on gerontology into a single system. One of the examples that I managed to find offhand is this resource. Here, in a structured form, data on various problems of aging, rejuvenation and related issues are posted, almost all information available on this topic is collected. By the way, Habré also collected a large amount of data on gerontological projects – the search for topics by the word “gerontology” was a pleasant surprise. If there are examples of other databases on gerontology – domestic or foreign, then it is worth mentioning them in the comments, it will be useful to many.

In general, there is no doubt that it is possible to fight old age only by combining the efforts of scientists, the state, and business. Individual companies can achieve certain results, but global success can only be achieved if they work together. You can t do without it.

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