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Protein Found to Play Key Role in Long Life

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 02 Oct 2013
Image: The structure of the sirtuin protein Sirt1 (Photo courtesy of Shin-ichiro Imai/Washington University in St. Louis).
Image: The structure of the sirtuin protein Sirt1 (Photo courtesy of Shin-ichiro Imai/Washington University in St. Louis).
The process behind the functioning of a specific protein already believed to play a role in longevity has recently been established to do just that, lengthen lifespan.

Developmental biologist Dr. Shin-ichiro Imai, from Washington University in St. Louis (MO, USA), discovered that instead of delaying the aging process, the protein works in the brain to delay the onset of aging, thus extending youth and adding those energetic years onto one’s life span.

The researchers engineered lab mice that expressed higher than normal levels of Sirt1 in their brain and saw a substantial extension in the animals’ life spans. The scientists specifically found that Sirt1 plays a vital role in protecting against age-related declines in skeletal muscle, physical activity, body temperature, oxygen consumption, and quality of sleep. The start of the disease process in mice trigger to contract cancer was also delayed.

This new finding could help researchers better determine how to extend the life span of other mammals, including humans. The result is published September 3, 2013, in the journal Cell Metabolism.

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Washington University in St. Louis


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