Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists discover how the brain ages

Date:
September 12, 2012
Source:
Newcastle University
Summary:
Researchers have revealed the mechanism by which neurons, the nerve cells in the brain and other parts of the body, age. The research opens up new avenues of understanding for conditions where the aging of neurons are known to be responsible, such as dementia and Parkinson's disease.

Rendering of a neural network. Researchers have revealed the mechanism by which neurons, the nerve cells in the brain and other parts of the body, age.
Credit: nobeastsofierce / Fotolia

Researchers at Newcastle University have revealed the mechanism by which neurons, the nerve cells in the brain and other parts of the body, age.

Related Articles


The research, published September 12 in Aging Cell, opens up new avenues of understanding for conditions where the aging of neurons are known to be responsible, such as dementia and Parkinson's disease.

The aging process has its roots deep within the cells and molecules that make up our bodies. Experts have previously identified the molecular pathway that react to cell damage and stems the cell's ability to divide, known as cell senescence.

However, in cells that do not have this ability to divide, such as neurons in the brain and elsewhere, little was understood of the aging process. Now a team of scientists at Newcastle University, led by Professor Thomas von Zglinicki have shown that these cells follow the same pathway.

This challenges previous assumptions on cell senescence and opens new areas to explore in terms of treatments for conditions such as dementia, motor neuron disease or age-related hearing loss.

Newcastle University's Professor Thomas von Zglinicki who led the research said: "We want to continue our work looking at the pathways in human brains as this study provides us with a new concept as to how damage can spread from the first affected area to the whole brain."

Working with the University's special colony of aged mice, the scientists have discovered that aging in neurons follows exactly the same rules as in senescing fibroblasts, the cells which divide in the skin to repair wounds.

DNA damage responses essentially re-program senescent fibroblasts to produce and secrete a host of dangerous substances including oxygen free radicals or reactive oxygen species (ROS) and pro-inflammatory signalling molecules. This makes senescent cells the 'rotten apple in a basket' that can damage and spoil the intact cells in their neighbourhood. However, so far it was always thought that aging in cells that can't divide -- post-mitotic, non-proliferating cells -- like neurons would follow a completely different pathway.

Now, this research explains that in fact aging in neurons follows exactly the same rules as in senescing fibroblasts.

Professor von Zglinicki, professor of Cellular Gerontology at Newcastle University said: "We will now need to find out whether the same mechanisms we detected in mouse brains are also associated with brain aging and cognitive loss in humans. We might have opened up a short-cut towards understanding brain aging, should that be the case."

Dr Diana Jurk, who did most of this work during her PhD in the von Zglinicki group, said: "It was absolutely fascinating to see how aging processes that we always thought of as completely separate turned out to be identical. Suddenly so much disparate knowledge came together and made sense."

The research contributes to the Newcastle Initiative on Changing Age, the University's response to the societal challenge of aging, seeking new ways to make the most of the extensive opportunities associated with increasing human longevity.

The team want to further study the mechanism using the unique resource of the Newcastle Brain Bank.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Diana Jurk, Chunfang Wang, Satomi Miwa, Mandy Maddick, Viktor Korolchuk, Avgi Tsolou, Efstathios S. Gonos, Christopher Thrasivoulou, M. Jill Saffrey, Kerry Cameron, Thomas von Zglinicki. Postmitotic neurons develop a p21-dependent senescence-like phenotype driven by a DNA damage response. Aging Cell, 2012; DOI: 10.1111/j.1474-9726.2012.00870.x

Cite This Page:

Newcastle University. "Scientists discover how the brain ages." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120912085036.htm>.
Newcastle University. (2012, September 12). Scientists discover how the brain ages. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120912085036.htm
Newcastle University. "Scientists discover how the brain ages." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120912085036.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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