Scientists produce short-term reversal of skin aging in mice

November 30th, 2007 - 2:05 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Nov 30(ANI): A research conducted at the Stanford University School of Medicine has revealed that the effects of aging on the skin can be reversed for a short period by blocking the action of a single critical protein.

The researchers also revealed that the work could one day be useful for helping older people in healing an injury as quickly as they did when they were young.

The work led by Howard Chang, Assistant professor of Dermatology backs the theory that aging is the result of specific genetic changes rather than accumulated wear and tear. What’s more, those genetic changes can be reversed even late in life.

The implication is that the aging process is plastic and potentially amenable to intervention,” said Chang.

The researchers also discovered that their activity of age-related genes gets dialed up or down with the help of the protein called NF-kappa-B.

Chang said people had long known that NF-kappa-B winds its way into a cell’s nucleus to control which genes were active. What they didn’t know is that many of those genes regulated by the protein have a role in aging.

Chang and a graduate Adam Adler, the studys first author looked at the genetic changes resulting from blocking NF-kappa-B for two weeks on the, the skin of 2-year-old mice

They found that the same genes active as cells in the skin of newborn mice has a striking difference when compared with the skin of a normal 2-year-old mouse.

Researchers further tested whether blocking the activity of NF-kappa-B in the skin of older mice for two weeks had a youthful effect.

“We found a pretty striking reversal to that of the young skin,” said Chang.

However, Chang and Adler have cautioned that their findings aren’t likely to be the source of the long-sought fountain of youth.
That’s because they don’t know if the rejuvenating effects of NF-kappa-B are long lasting.

The protein has roles in cancer, the immune system and a range of other functions throughout the body and suppressing it on a long-term basis could very well result in cancers or other diseases that undermine its otherwise youthful effect.

“You might get a longer lifespan but at the expense of something else,” he added.

The results will be published in the Dec. 15 issue of the journal Genes and Development. (ANI)

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