Fountain Of Youth Discovered In Mouse
May 5, 2005, 21:31
Scientists have discovered a way to significantly extend the lifespan of
mice and reduce the aging process in a method that could be exploited to
extend the lifespan of humans.
Researchers from the University of Washington used genetically engineered
mice that produce a human antioxidant enzyme that limits tissue damage from
very reactive chemicals, called "free radicals."
The researchers designed the mice to produce human catalase, an enzyme that
breaks down hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is a waste product of
metabolism and it can be a the precursor of free radicals that can damage
The team found mice that produced more catalase in specialized parts of
their cells (mitochondria) lived about 20 percent longer than mice with more
catalase levels in the nucleus and cytoplasm.
The findings suggests increased catalase production needs to be targeted
precisely for maximum effect.
The team also found that mitochondrion-targeted catalase mice also had
healthier heart muscle tissue. The scientists say this factor protected the
mice from age-related heart problems.
"This study is very supportive of the free-radical theory of aging. It shows
the significance of free radicals, and of reactive oxygen species in
particular, in the aging process," said lead researcher, Dr. Peter
Rabinovitch indicated the findings could pave the way for the development of
drugs or other treatments that protect the human body from free radicals and
possibly some age-related conditions.
They study appears in the May 5, online edition of the journal Science.