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 December 19, 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 December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
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