A study reported in today’s issue of the journal Nature explains how researchers at the Mayo Clinic kept mice from aging by purging their bodies of senescent cells, which set off low levels of inflammation that spurs the aging process.
Here is an overview:
“Advanced age is the main risk factor for most chronic diseases and functional deficits in humans, but the fundamental mechanisms that drive ageing remain largely unknown, impeding the development of interventions that might delay or prevent age-related disorders and maximize healthy lifespan. Cellular senescence, which halts the proliferation of damaged or dysfunctional cells, is an important mechanism to constrain the malignant progression of tumour cells1, 2. Senescent cells accumulate in various tissues and organs with ageing3 and have been hypothesized to disrupt tissue structure and function because of the components they secrete4, 5. However, whether senescent cells are causally implicated in age-related dysfunction and whether their removal is beneficial has remained unknown. “
According to Purging Cells in Mice Is Found to Combat Aging Ills by Nicholas Wade,
“The experiment raises the prospect that drugs could be developed that would keep human tissues healthier longer, but it is unclear until further testing is done whether such drugs could eventually help people live longer. The finding indicates that any therapy that rids the body of senescent cells would delay age-related changes.
Senescent cells accumulate in aging tissues, like arthritic knees, cataracts and the plaque that may line elderly arteries. The cells secrete agents that stimulate the immune system and cause low-level inflammation. Until now, there has been no way to tell if the presence of the cells is good, bad or indifferent.”