Are we getting closer to understanding the genetics of human aging and potentially intervening?
Groundbreaking research is unfolding the mysteries of human aging at a genetic level. By mapping genome regions and identifying key genes associated with aging, scientists are starting to piece together a clearer picture of how and why we age, and how we may be able to intervene in this process.
- An international team of more than 200 scientists conducted a genome-wide association study and identified key regions of the human genome that regulate the rate of brain aging.
- The study utilized scans from 15,640 participants worldwide, cross-referencing changes in brain tissue with about 1 million genetic biomarkers.
- The genes GPR139, DACH1, and APOE were found to correlate with metabolic processes affecting brain aging and a range of factors, such as cognitive function and mental health disorders.
- The APOE ε4 allele was associated with accelerated tissue decline in the hippocampus and amygdala, and abnormal buildup of tau protein linked to Alzheimer’s, Down syndrome, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
- BioAge Labs, Inc., a biotech firm, is actively developing agents that target molecular causes of aging with the goal of extending healthy lifespans.
- Inhibitors of NLRP3, a component of the inflammasome, could potentially prevent various age-related disorders.
- Preclinical studies showed that NLRP3 inhibition improved cognitive function and reduced neuro-inflammation in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease and traumatic brain injury.
- The apelin pathway, which declines with age, has shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in the brain and is correlated with longevity, cognitive function, and mobility.
- Although commercially available anti-aging interventions may still be years away, the progress made in understanding the genetics of aging provides promising insights into potential preventive measures against age-related diseases.
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