A new study showed that the lifespan of roundworms can be extended by 500% by altering the ISS and TOR pathways (cellular pathways). This research led to the development of anti-aging therapy that are used in humans. The study was carried out on C. elegans which is a nematode species usually used in the research projects for aging. The study reveals that mitochondria as a major role in the process of aging.
To solve the mysteries related to aging scientists spend many years even several decades by conducting experiments on the nematode species, C. elegans. It is a tiny organism that often used in the research study of aging because it has a short life span usually two or three weeks.
Due to this feature, it is easy for researchers to quickly understand the alternation and mutations that are linked to the process of aging. In 1993, it was revealed in a famous paper that specific single-gene mutations in the C. elegans make it live twice long as compared to the original lifespan. This new discovery led scientists to open a new area of research on aging.
The researcher found a surprising thing in the new study that was published in the “Cell Reports”, that lifespan could be extended by 500% through altering the two insulin signaling pathways (IIS and TOR pathways). The results of past researches showed that alternations in the IIS and TOR pathways yield only a 130% increase in lifespan. But the sum was greater after altering both pathways collectively i.e. 500%. The genes altered through a process known as gene knockdown.
Jarod A. Rollins, a lead author with Jianfeng Lan of Nanjing University, shared a statement with Phys.org that by altering the two pathways collectively the synergistic effect is was much greater. It is not equal to one plus one is equal to two, but one plus one is equal to five. The findings reveal that for developing the most effective anti-aging therapy there is a need to look at longevity networks instead of individual pathways.
Even today scientists are unable to find the specific gene that makes some people live a disease-free life in old age. Besides the environmental factors that affect the health and aging of humans, there are some genes involved in regulating the process.
It is not a single gene that regulates the process of aging, but a longevity network is present in the body. Previously, scientists were trying to find out the map of the aging process by connecting several pathways within the longevity network. Through many efforts, the new study reveals that researchers are now able to understand a little bit about this complex.
In the new study, the focus was placed on the mitochondria in the cells. it is an organelle drives chemical energy in the cell and has a role in the longevity network. It was shown through recent studies mitochondria plays a great role in the aging process. This is mentioned in the overview that was published in 2017 in journal Genes.
As many factors involved in the human aging process but the mitochondria is the major one whose dysfunction is linked to development the of many age-related pathologies such as neurodegenerative disorders, metabolic syndrome, cancer, and cardiovascular problems.
The factors that affect the ISS and TOR pathways are still unclear but recent researches showed by regulating the health of mitochondria the lifespan could be improved and increased. It was revealed through a study conducted recently that if C. elegans undergo an intermittent fasting diet then it improves the lifespan of roundworm and keeps the mitochondria in the youthful state which is a sign for extending lifespan.