Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UNC Lineberger Researchers Identify Molecular Markers Of Aging

Date:
November 11, 2004
Source:
University Of North Carolina School Of Medicine
Summary:
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center may have made a crucial discovery in the understanding of cellular aging.

CHAPEL HILL -- Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center may have made a crucial discovery in the understanding of cellular aging.

In a study published in the Nov. 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the researchers report that as cells and tissues age, the expression of two proteins called p16INK4a and ARF dramatically increases. This increase in expression, more than a hundredfold in some tissues, suggests a strong link between cellular aging and the upregulation, or increased production, of p16INK4a and ARF.

"At the very least, our work suggests that looking at the expression of one or both proteins will make a great biomarker of aging - a tool to clinically determine the actual molecular age of people, as opposed to just their chronological age," said Lineberger member Dr. Norman Sharpless, the senior author of the study and assistant professor of medicine and genetics at UNC's School of Medicine.

"We all know people that we consider to be a young 65, and we believe they won't demonstrate as much p16INK4a or ARF expression as others of the same age."

In addition to identifying molecular targets that may slow aging in the future, the study may also suggest immediate clinical applications. Knowing the molecular age of a tissue may also enable physicians to select the "youngest" most viable tissues and organs for transplantation, to predict how well a patient will heal after surgery and, by being able to characterize the regenerative ability of a patient's bone marrow, predict future toxicity of chemotherapy in a cancer patient.

Both p16INK4a and ARF are known potent tumor suppressors, or proteins that halt tumor cell growth. The study suggests that the important anti-cancer function of these proteins to limit cellular growth might in turn cause aging.

"Proliferation of cells is important in the repair and regrowth of tissues. In fact, we grow old in part because our bodies' ability to regenerate tissues decreases as we age," Sharpless said. "We believe an untoward effect of increased p16INK4a and ARF expression outside of cancer is a decrease in cellular proliferation needed to sustain this regeneration."

The researchers also found that the increase in p16INK4a and ARF can be substantially inhibited by decreasing caloric intake, a known retardant of aging. This result suggests that decreased expression of p16INK4a and ARF could mediate the known anti-aging effects of caloric restriction.

"Our results suggest that going on a short-term diet will not reverse the aging process; only long-term restrictions appeared to have an effect on p16INK4a and ARF expression. Therefore, our results would not be consistent with the idea that short-term caloric restriction prior to surgery would improve post-operative wound healing," Sharpless said.

The work has strong implications for stem cell renewal, he added. Stem cells are self-replenishing cells that constantly divide and differentiate into the component cells that make up the tissues in the human body and are found in particularly high number in the bone marrow, as well as organs such as the skin, kidney and liver.

"As tissue stem cells age, they appear to express more p16INK4a and ARF, which would stop those cells from replenishing," Sharpless said. "As people age, they could just run out of functioning stem cells."

Depletion of stem cells could affect the ability of the body to heal after injury or surgery and may also predict the ability of certain diseases, such as cardiomyopathy, to progress," he added.

Along with Sharpless, study co-authors from UNC Lineberger are postdoctoral researchers Drs. Janakiraman Krishnamurthy and Grigoriy Kovalev, research technician Chad Torrice, graduate student Matthew Ramsey, and UNC Lineberger member Dr. Lishan Su, also associate professor of microbiology and immunology. Co-author Dr. Khalid Al-Regaiey is from Southern Illinois University's departments of physiology and internal medicine.

###

This work was supported by grants from the Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research, the Paul B. Beeson Career Development Awards Program (formerly the Beeson Physician Faculty Scholars Program) and the National Institute on Aging.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of North Carolina School Of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of North Carolina School Of Medicine. "UNC Lineberger Researchers Identify Molecular Markers Of Aging." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 November 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041108024941.htm>.
University Of North Carolina School Of Medicine. (2004, November 11). UNC Lineberger Researchers Identify Molecular Markers Of Aging. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041108024941.htm
University Of North Carolina School Of Medicine. "UNC Lineberger Researchers Identify Molecular Markers Of Aging." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041108024941.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins