Thursday, February 2, 2023

Scientists identify new causes of aging

A group of scientists coordinated by Carlos López-Otín and Guido Kroemer from the universities of Oviedo and Paris has identified three new molecular processes that cause aging, in addition to nine keys to cell deterioration that these researchers have already discovered. Expanded a year ago. decade and that opened the doors to being able to understand and prevent the functional loss that occurs with age to the human organism.

The three processes known to cause aging are changes in autophagy (the process that allows for the continuous renewal of cells by preventing waste products from building up in them), chronic inflammation, and dysbiosis, or changes in the structure of cells. Change. Microorganisms that live in our bodies.

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“We knew for a long time that changes in autophagy and chronic inflammation were related to aging, but in recent years we and other groups have performed experiments that have demonstrated the causal relevance of these events in our organism’s functional deterioration.” . of time”, explains biochemist López-Otín Pawn,

And he points out that “the discovery of dysbiosis is very recent”, since the essential details of this process have been overlooked for the discovery of its immense relevance in many aspects of human health, such as obesity, longevity, emotional changes, cancer have gone or response to chemotherapy.

“In our lab we have already shown that longevity can be extended in models of normal and pathological aging through interference with the microbiome, and we discovered the existence of pro-longevity bacteria. This type of work has about the status of certain molecular or cellular processes that are key or determinants causing aging”, explains the researcher from the University of Oviedo, convinced that not everything has yet been said about the processes that lead to this The natural biological process that causes aging and in the future they will identify more causes.

twelve keys to aging

For the 12 signals identified so far, the researchers classify them into three categories: primary, antagonistic and integrative factors.

12 Molecular And Cellular Keys To Aging.  (Lopez-Otin Et Al., Cell 2023).

12 molecular and cellular keys to aging

López-Otin et al., Cell 2023

“The primary factors are triggers for the process and include genomic instability, telomere shortening, epigenetic changes, and loss of proteostasis,” says López-Otin.

Antagonisms are the body’s responses to counteract the damage caused by these primary factors. “Theoretically, these responses are beneficial, but they become chronic in adulthood and become harmful,” the researchers say. Included in this category are dysregulation of nutritional sensors, cellular senescence (cells age until they stop reproducing but do not die), and mitochondrial dysfunction.

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Finally, integrin factors are mainly responsible for the senescent phenotype (molecules secreted by senescent cells), such as “depletion of progenitor cell reserve and alterations in intercellular communication mechanisms,” he explains.

Strategies for Aging Better

López-Otín believes that this definition of the key processes in age-associated decline will help design strategies to age better, but not through the elixir of youth but through progress toward more personalized medicine. .

“For each of the keys, specific interventions are proposed; but beyond rare doses or expensive methods whose efficiency has not been verified, there is a need to live more peacefully to slow down aging and thus reduce cortisol levels and our There is nothing better than improving the immune response.”, emphasizes what is considered one of the world leaders in research on tumors and aging.


Eating a healthy diet helps reduce dysbiosis, one of the processes that cause aging.

louis tato

“In this we must include a healthy, natural and close diet that helps to reduce dysbiosis, and the inclusion of at least a minimum of physical activity in our daily lives, which, among other benefits, will increase autophagy and eliminate waste.” will improve the recycling of by-products, the accumulation of which causes serious functional damage to our bodies,” he added.

On the other hand, he believes that treatments based on gene editing or cell reprogramming “should be reserved for other types of conditions and serious diseases for now, such as the dramatic processes of accelerated aging that we work on in our lab.” are doing.”

The study by López-Otin and Kromer, in which Drs Manuel Serrano (IRB, Barcelona), María Blasco (CNIO, Madrid) and Linda Partridge (Max Planck Institute, Cologne) also participated, was published last Tuesday in the journal Scientific Was. the cell,

Graph 2: Four Metakeys Common To Aging And Cancer.  The Figure Also Shows The Antagonistic And Ambivalent Mechanisms Of Both Processes.  (Lopez-Otin Et Al., Cell Metabolism 2023)

Four common metakeys for aging and cancer. The figure also shows the antagonistic and ambivalent mechanisms of both processes.

(Lopez-Otien et al., Cell Metabolism 2023

causes cancer and aging

They identify four general mechanisms

Aging and cancer are, in principle, in the eyes of biologists, apparently opposing processes, since the former represents a continuous loss of biological efficiency, the latter an abnormal gain of cells.
However, after analyzing in detail the biological underpinnings of both processes, doctors López-Otin and Kromer concluded that four mechanisms are common to aging and cancer: genomic instability, epigenetic changes, chronic inflammation and dysbiosis.
In another work published a few days ago they explain it this way cell metabolism, In which they highlight that a detailed understanding of the mechanisms involved in these metakeys of aging and cancer “will allow future intervention strategies to be designed on each of them, in order to improve our quality of life and ultimately to extend longevity”, concludes López-Otín.

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