Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First real indicator of longevity in mammals discovered

Date:
September 27, 2012
Source:
Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncologicas (CNIO)
Summary:
Scientists have demonstrated that longevity is defined at a molecular level by the length of telomeres. The work opens the door to further study of these cellular components in order to calculate the rate at which cells age and thus be able to determine life expectancy.

A team of researchers from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), headed by CNIO Director María Blasco, has demonstrated in a pioneering study on mammals that longevity is defined at a molecular level by the length of telomeres. The work -- which is published September 27 in the online edition of the journal Cell Reports -- opens the door to further study of these cellular components in order to calculate the rate at which cells age and thus be able to determine life expectancy for a particular organism.

Chromosomes -- the cellular containers holding the genetic information in living creatures -- have repetitive sequences of DNA at their extremities called telomeres. These sequences act as hoods that protect the genetic material in the face of any external agent which might damage it and compromise the function of the cells.

Several transversal population studies -- measuring telomere length once over time in a large group of individuals -- show a relationship between the length of the telomeres and the risk of suffering illnesses -- cardiovascular disease or cancer, for example.

Until now, however, the use of telomeric measurements to predict real life expectancy in mammals had not been evaluated.

"In the transversal studies, it appears that individuals with short telomeres have a significantly increased probability of developing illnesses, including cancer. But this information is not applicable to a specific individual," says Blasco.

To determine a real aeing prediction method, the authors of the present study have carried out longitudinal studies of telomere length in mice, in which a single individual is followed over a period of time.

After taking periodic blood samples from the same individual, from which cells were extracted for study, they found that those mice which managed to live longer were not the ones that had longer telomeres at any given age but those in which showed less telomeric shortening over time.

"The important thing is not so much the long telomeres at any given time as the tendency or the evolution of the length of the telomeres over time," says Elsa Vera, lead author of the study.

With this study, Blasco's team suggests using mice as an animal model in longitudinal studies that allow for health prognoses in humans. Blasco says that: "while telomere length in normal mice is much greater than in humans, we have found, surprisingly, that the telomere shortening rate in mice is 100 times faster than in humans, so the old dogma of normal mice not getting old due to the shortening of their telomeres is wrong."

This study further opens the possibility of studying, via the longitudinal examination of these genetic guardians, the real effect of lifestyle choices such as diet, smoking or exercise on individual aging rates.

These studies might therefore be crucial in preventing illnesses or in developing new medicines to treat them.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncologicas (CNIO). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Elsa Vera, Bruno Bernardes de Jesus, Miguel Foronda, Juana M. Flores, Maria A. Blasco. The Rate of Increase of Short Telomeres Predicts Longevity in Mammals. Cell Reports, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2012.08.023

Cite This Page:

Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncologicas (CNIO). "First real indicator of longevity in mammals discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120927130215.htm>.
Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncologicas (CNIO). (2012, September 27). First real indicator of longevity in mammals discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120927130215.htm
Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncologicas (CNIO). "First real indicator of longevity in mammals discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120927130215.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) — More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) — Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) — Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
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