New research reveals an interesting finding of how one can prolong his life by the help of a specific enzyme found in mice. When a protein from the young’s mice blood was administered in the body of aging mice, visible improvements were observed in the aging signs and symptoms.
Aging is a process of progressive deterioration of a multicellular body. In the process of aging, the cells start to break down structurally and functionally, which lead to structural changes and ultimately the loss of different functions of the body.
Aging is characterized by hair loss, development of small pigmented areas in the skin particularly on the face, skin wrinkles particularly on the face, general weakness, poor vision, increase fat deposition, gradual loss of memory, increased susceptibility to diseases and development of degenerative diseases like osteoporosis and arthritis.
The substance which keeps the body fueled and health is nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD). NAD plays some important roles in a human body including DNA repair, aging, and metabolism. As time passes by aging cells lose their ability to produce sufficient energy and NAD.
Another important substance involved in the energy-making process is an enzyme – eNAMPT. The recent study found that extracting eNAMPT from younger mice and administering to the body of aging mice will boost the levels of NAD enzyme causing a delay in the aging process.
Findings of the research paper “Extracellular Vesicle-Contained eNAMPT Delays Aging and Extends Lifespan in Mice” are published in the journal Cell Metabolism. The study is led by the senior author Dr.shin-ichiro lmai.
How NAD and eNAMPT controls aging?
The same research team in their previous research revealed the positive impact of eNAMPT on a human body. They observed that raise levels of this protein in mice blood allowed them to have better quality sleep, coordination and control, and insulin resistance.
“We think the body has so many redundant systems to maintain proper NAD levels because it is so important,” says Dr. Shin-ichiro Imai, Ph.D., and a professor of developmental biology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
“Our work and others’ suggest it governs how long we live and how healthy we remain as we age. Since we know that NAD inevitably declines with age, whether in worms, fruit flies, mice, or people, many researchers are interested in finding antiaging interventions that might maintain NAD levels as we get older.”
Researchers while studying the NAD creating process found that it is the hypothalamus which produces NAD by using the enzyme eNAMPT. Hypothalamus is a part of a brain located at the base. It is responsible for many regulatory functions in the body including thirst, sleeping cycle, temperature, and hunger. It plays an important part in the aging process.
eNAMPT prolongs life by 16%
In this recent research, the team shows the travel pathway of eNAMPT. It travels to the brain. Bloodstream contains a carrier commonly known as the extracellular vesicles which helps transport eNAMPT to the brain. This fact is applicable to both human and mice bodies.
With time, eNAMPT productions start decreasing, thus only a small amount of it is able to reach the hypothalamus. Due to this, the hypothalamus is not able to work properly, in return making the lifespan of a person short.
The research paper clearly shows the evidence about how the concentration of eNAMPT in the blood is directly related to the lifespan of mice.
In the study, when the group of elderly mice was given eNAMPT, they prolonged their life up to 1,029 days which is 2.8 years. On the other hand, the control group who received saline solution increased their life span for 881 days that is 2.4 years.
In a nutshell, eNAMPT led mice to have an increase in their life span by approximately 16%. “We were surprised by the dramatic differences between the old mice that received the eNAMPT of young mice and old mice that received saline as a control,” Dr. Imai comments.
“These are old mice with no special genetic modifications, and when supplemented with eNAMPT, their wheel-running behavior, sleep patterns and physical appearance -— thicker, shinier fur, for example — resemble that of young mice, says Dr. Shin-ichiro Imai.
Conclusion of the remarkable study
Dr. Imai says, “We have found a totally new pathway toward healthy aging.”
“That we can take eNAMPT from the blood of young mice and give it to older mice and see that the older mice show marked improvements in health — including increased physical activity and better sleep — is remarkable.”
The researchers hope that future team will study more about eNAMPT and its relation with age-related diseases.
“We could predict, with surprising accuracy, how long mice would live based on their levels of circulating eNAMPT,” Dr. Imai comments.
She adds, “We don’t know yet if this association is present in people, but it does suggest that eNAMPT levels should be studied further to see if it could be used as a potential biomarker of aging.”