Activating gene could slow aging process
The activation of a particular gene may help slow the aging process in key organs, according to a new study.
Scientists at UCLA examined the effects of activating a gene called AMPK in fruit flies. AMPK is known as an energey sensor in cells that is activated when cellular energy levels are low. The researchers observed that AMPK activation led to an increase in a cellular process in which damaged components are discarded in both the brain and the intestines. This can slow the aging process. They also found that increasing the amount of AMPK in the fruit flies' intestines increased their lifespan by about 30 percent--from the typical six weeks to about eight weeks.
The findings of the study, published in the journal Cell Reports, suggest that AMPK activation may have implications for humans when it comes to delaying aging and the onset of diseases that commonly occur in older age--including Parkinson's diseaes, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, stroke and cardiovascular disease.