Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Spoonful Of Sugar' Makes The Worms' Life Span Go Down

Date:
November 5, 2009
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
If worms are any indication, all the sugar in your diet could spell much more than obesity and type 2 diabetes. Researchers say it might also be taking years off your life.

C. elegans.
Credit: Bob Goldstein, UNC Chapel Hill / Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

If worms are any indication, all the sugar in your diet could spell much more than obesity and type 2 diabetes. Researchers reporting in the November issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication, say it might also be taking years off your life.

By adding just a small amount of glucose to C. elegans usual fare of straight bacteria, they found the worms lose about 20 percent of their usual life span. They trace the effect to insulin signals, which can block other life-extending molecular players.

Although the findings are in worms, Cynthia Kenyon of the University of California, San Francisco, says there are known to be many similarities between worms and people in the insulin signaling pathways. (As an aside, Kenyon says she read up on low-carb diets and changed her eating habits immediately -- cutting out essentially all starches and desserts -- after making the initial discovery in worms. The discovery was made several years ago, but had not been reported in a peer-reviewed journal until now.)

"In the early 90s, we discovered mutations that could double the normal life span of worms," Kenyon said. Those mutations effected insulin signals. Specifically, a mutation in a gene known as daf-2 slowed aging and doubled life span. That longer life depended on another "FOXO transcription factor" called DAF-16 and the heat shock factor HSF-1.

Now, the researchers show that those same players are also involved in numbering the days of worms who are fed on glucose. In fact, glucose makes no difference to the life span of worms that lack DAF-16 or HSF-1, they show. Glucose also completely prevents the life-extending benefits that would otherwise come with mutations in the daf-2 gene.

Ultimately, worms fed a steady diet containing glucose show a reduction in aquaporin channels that transport glycerol, one of the ingredients in the process by which the body produces its own glucose. "If there is not enough glucose, the body makes it with glycerol," Kenyon explained. That glycerol has to first get where it needs to go, which it does via the aquaporin channels.

Further studies are needed to see if these same effects of sugar can be seen in mice, or even people. But there is reason to think they may.

"Although we do not fully understand the mechanism by which glucose shortens the life span of C. elegans, the fact that the two mammalian aquaporin glycerol-transporting channels are downregulated by insulin raises the possibility that glucose may have a life-span-shortening effect in humans, and, conversely, that a diet with a low glycemic index may extend human life span," the researchers write. Kenyon also points to recent studies that have linked particular FOXO variants to longevity in several human populations, making the pathway the first with clear effects on human aging.

She says the findings may also have implications for drugs now in development for the treatment of diabetes, which are meant to block glucose production by inhibiting glycerol channels. The new findings "raise a flag" that glycerol channels might be doing something else, she says, and that drugs designed to block them might have a downside.

The researchers include Seung-Jae Lee, University of California, San Francisco, CA, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Pohang, Kyungbuk, South Korea; Coleen T. Murphy, University of California, San Francisco, CA; and Cynthia Kenyon, University of California, San Francisco, CA.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "'Spoonful Of Sugar' Makes The Worms' Life Span Go Down." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091103121605.htm>.
Cell Press. (2009, November 5). 'Spoonful Of Sugar' Makes The Worms' Life Span Go Down. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091103121605.htm
Cell Press. "'Spoonful Of Sugar' Makes The Worms' Life Span Go Down." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091103121605.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
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