Scientists take important step toward the proverbial fountain of youth
Going back for a second dessert after your holiday meal might not be the best strategy for living a long, cancer-free life say researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. That's because they've shown exactly how restricted calorie diets—specifically in the form of restricted glucose—help human cells live longer. This discovery, published online in The FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org) could help lead to drugs and treatments that slow human aging and prevent cancer. "Our hope is that the discovery that reduced calories extends the lifespan of normal human cells will lead to further discoveries of the causes for these effects in different cell types and facilitate the development of novel approaches to extend the lifespan of humans," said Trygve Tollefsbol, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Center for Aging and Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "We would also hope for these studies to lead to improved prevention of cancer as well as many other age-related diseases through controlling calorie intake of specific cell types."
To make this discovery, Tollefsbol and colleagues used normal human lung cells and precancerous human lung cells that were at the beginning stages of cancer formation. Both sets of cells were grown in the laboratory and received either normal or reduced levels of glucose (sugar). As the cells grew over a period of a few weeks, the researchers monitored their ability to divide, and kept track of how many cells survived over this period. They found that the normal cells lived longer, and many of the precancerous cells died, when given less glucose. Gene activity was also measured under these same conditions. The reduced glucose caused normal cells to have a higher activity of the gene that dictates the level of telomerase, an enzyme that extends their lifespan and lower activity of a gene (p16) that slows their growth. Epigenetic effects (effects not due to gene mutations) were found to be a major cause in changing the activity of these genes as they reacted to decreased glucose levels.
"Western science is on the cusp of developing a pharmaceutical fountain of youth" said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "This study confirms that we are on the path to persuading human cells to let us to live longer, and perhaps cancer-free, lives."
- Calorie restriction: Scientists take important step toward 'fountain of youth'from Science DailySat, 26 Dec 2009, 0:07:18 EST
- Scientists take important step toward the proverbial fountain of youthfrom Science CentricWed, 23 Dec 2009, 6:49:34 EST
- Scientists take important step toward the proverbial fountain of youthfrom PhysorgTue, 22 Dec 2009, 14:14:27 EST
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Learn more about
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
No popular news yet
- Kids' cartoon characters twice as likely to die as counterparts in films for adults
- Herd mentality: Are we programmed to make bad decisions?
- Evidence of Viking/Norse metalworking in Arctic Canada
- NASA Goddard instrument makes first detection of organic matter on Mars
- Origin of long-standing space mystery revealed
- Ground-based detection of super-Earth transit achieved
- NASA's Swift mission probes an exotic object: 'Kicked' black hole or mega star?
- Pulsars with black holes could hold the 'holy grail' of gravity
- King Richard III -- case closed after 529 years
- Social media data contain pitfalls for understanding human behavior