Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Biomarkers May Hone Anti-aging Therapies

Date:
March 2, 2006
Source:
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Summary:
Lotions and potions that promise to remove wrinkles and other effects of aging crowd cosmetics aisle shelves, but do these treatments really work? Vanderbilt University Medical Center investigators have identified new molecular indicators -- or "biomarkers" -- of aging in the skin that could be used to evaluate anti-aging therapies. Their findings are reported in the February issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

From left, Ruth Ann Vleugels, M.D., a graduate of VUSM and now a resident at Harvard; Alex Eshaghian, a M.D./Ph.D. student; Jeff Canter, M.D., and James Sligh, M.D., Ph.D.
Credit: Photo by Dana Johnson

Not many people want to look old. Lotions and potions that promise to remove wrinkles and other effects of aging crowd cosmetics aisle shelves, but do these treatments really work?

Vanderbilt University Medical Center investigators have identified new molecular indicators — or “biomarkers” — of aging in the skin that could be used to evaluate anti-aging therapies. Their findings are reported in this month's Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

“There's a lot of interest in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries in developing products that will minimize or reduce certain signs of aging,” said James Sligh Jr., M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Medicine and Cell & Developmental Biology. “The quantifiable biomarkers we've characterized could be useful for monitoring laboratory-simulated aging as well as potential drugs or therapies that alter the aging process.”

The new biomarkers are changes to the DNA of cellular organelles called mitochondria. Mitochondria, which have their own DNA that is distinct from the DNA in the cell's nucleus, serve as the “power plants” of the cell. They manufacture energy in the form of the molecule ATP. Energy generation includes, as a byproduct, the production of reactive oxygen species, which can damage the DNA present in mitochondria, Sligh said.

Some theories of cellular aging — why and how cells age — center on mitochondria and decreased energetic capacity resulting from mitochondrial DNA mutations, Sligh explained. In addition, mutations in mitochondrial DNA have been associated with tumor development.

“We initiated this project with the idea that perhaps there was a specific mitochondrial DNA deletion signature that would be associated with tumor development in the skin,” Sligh said.

The investigators searched for mitochondrial DNA deletion mutations in skin samples from patients having non-melanoma skin cancer removed in the Vanderbilt Mohs Clinic. Mohs micrographic surgery is a treatment for skin cancer, particularly the most common forms: basal and squamous cell carcinomas.

Sligh and colleagues were surprised to find a panel of mitochondrial DNA deletions in the tumor-free skin that was adjacent to the tumors, but not in the tumors themselves. The tumor samples were more likely to have full-length mitochondrial DNA, with point mutations rather than significant deletions, Sligh said.

The mitochondrial DNA mutations in the tumor-free skin correlated with the aging process, Sligh said. The newly identified deletion mutations will now go into “Mitomap,” a database of all known human mitochondrial genome changes.

“Unraveling the molecular clues as to why aging cells function differently than young cells requires that we have molecular markers that we can track,” Sligh said. “It won't be long before other investigators who have other human tissue specimens — brain, lung, heart, for example — look for these changes and report back.

“It will be interesting to see if the mitochondrial DNA mutations we've found are markers of aging in other tissues or if they are specific to tissues exposed to ultraviolet light.”

Either way, the newly identified biomarkers will provide another tool for studying mitochondrial damage that contributes to aging and cancer, and for screening compounds that prevent or reverse the process, Sligh said.

Alex Eshaghian, an MSTP student, and former VU medical student Ruth Ann Vleugels, M.D., are the lead authors of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology paper. Other contributors include Jeffrey Canter, M.D., Michel McDonald, M.D., and Thomas Stasko, M.D. The research was supported by the VA Medical Research Service, Vanderbilt Skin Diseases Research Center, Ellison Medical Foundation and American Cancer Society.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "Biomarkers May Hone Anti-aging Therapies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 March 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060302092333.htm>.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center. (2006, March 2). Biomarkers May Hone Anti-aging Therapies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060302092333.htm
Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "Biomarkers May Hone Anti-aging Therapies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060302092333.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Uganda on Alert for Ebola but No Confirmed Cases

Uganda on Alert for Ebola but No Confirmed Cases

AFP (July 31, 2014) Uganda's health minister said on Thursday that there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in the country, but that it remained on alert for cases of the deadly virus. Uganda has suffered Ebola outbreaks in the past, most recently in 2012. Duration: 00:59 Video provided by AFP
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