/   Home   /   Newsroom   /   News Updates

Chinese Researchers Uncover Genetic Secrets behind Aging Rate

Nov 09, 2017     Email"> PrintText Size

A research team from China has discovered a genetic mechanism that affects animal's aging rate, shedding light on the biological basis and regulation of healthy aging, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Learning more about this process is important because the world's population is aging rapidly, and aging is also a major risk factor for diseases including neurodegenerative disorders and cancer.

To better understand the issue, a team led by Dr. Shi-Qing Cai at the Chinese Academy of Sciences analyzed the genetic origin of variability in the rate of aging by using Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) as an animal model. C. elegans is a tiny free-living nematode with a length of about one millimeter, and it has been widely used in aging research.

In their short lifespan, C. elegans from different parts of the world showed distinct rates of declines in virility, feeding behavior, and locomotion during aging, according to the study.

Further analysis showed that genetic variations in a novel neuropeptide coding gene, rgba-1, and its receptor gene, npr-28, regulated aging rate of worm behaviors among the C. elegans.

The team believes that their study reveals the first genetic pathway underlying natural variation in the rate of aging, and uncovers an important role of neuropeptide-mediated glia-neuron signaling in controlling aging rate.

The pathway appears to affect C. elegans' virility and feeding behavior, but not its locomotion, suggesting that "the mechanism regulating declines of various behaviors might be quite different", said the first author of the study, Dr. Jiang-An Yin, who is a member of Cai's team.

It remains an important challenge to determine whether neuropeptides play a similar role in regulating human healthspan.

But this study provides new insights into the evolution of aging, suggesting that aging rates may have been affected by emergence of new genes, natural selection, and the interaction between different genetic loci.

"The genes underlying variation in aging rate among individuals have undergone long-term natural selection, and they usually do not affect animal growth and reproduction. Thus, these genes potentially can be good drug targets for future anti-aging treatments," said Yin. (Xinhua)

Attachment:

(Editor: CHEN Na)

Contact

Phone:
E-mail:

Related Articles

brain scan;aging;brain

With Age Comes Wisdom: Largest Ever Brain Scan Analysis Reveals Secrets of Ageing

Sep 08, 2015

While growing older does take its toll on the brain, the effect may have been overstated, according to Li Huijie of the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Psychology. "Ageing has a negative impact on the brain, but it is not as bad as we thought," he said.

Werner syndrome; aging; age-related diseases; heterochromatin, DNA

Key Mechanism That Causes Aging Discovered: Biologists Say It Could Be Slowed Down Or Even Reversed

May 04, 2015

Biologists have discovered the key mechanism that causes aging. They are confident that the process can be slowed down or even reversed. It was while studying the underlying causes of Werner syndrome – a genetic disorder that causes affected individuals to age more rapid...

Contact Us

Copyright © 2002 - 2017 Chinese Academy of Sciences