Mice-mates: almost two years old. The lab mouse on the right had a majority of its senescent cells cleared by a drug starting at age one, which allowed it to live 25 percent longer than the mouse who had no such treatment. And it was healthier, say the researchers. Even so, it is too early yet to say whether this will work for humans, although there is discussion about anti-aging drugs. Ewen Callaway writes in the journal Nature: “Eliminating worn-out cells extends the healthy lives of lab mice — an indication that treatments aimed at killing off these cells, or blocking their effects, might also help to combat age-related diseases in humans. As animals age, cells that are no longer able to divide — called senescent cells — accrue all over their bodies, releasing molecules that can harm nearby tissues. Senescent cells are linked to diseases of old age, such as kidney failure and type 2 diabetes. To test the cells’ role in ageing, Darren Baker and Jan van Deursen, molecular biologists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and their colleagues engineered mice so that their senescent cells would die off when the rodents were injected with a drug.” Yet, the senescent cells containing the p16 protein also aid in wound healing and prevent tumor suppression, making it important in the prevention of cancers. Does one benefit cancel another? Perhaps medical science has not yet found the “fountain of youth,” but it is delving deeper into understanding the complex process of aging.
Photo Credit: Jan Van Deursen
Saturday, February 6, 2016
The Dual Role Of Senescent Cells