The quest for graceful aging and the potential to slow down this natural process have captivated human interest for a long time. Despite continuous research efforts, the question of effectively combating aging remains a tantalizing mystery.
A groundbreaking study, conducted by scientists from the University of Glasgow in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic in the United States, has unveiled some of the biological mysteries surrounding aging. This research has revealed a potential target for future treatments, offering hope for healthier aging and improved management of diseases like cancer.
The study, published in the prestigious journal Nature under the title “Apoptotic stress causes mtDNA release during senescence and drives the SASP,” delves into the mechanisms behind the inflammatory response generated by aging and damaged cells and how it might be interrupted to promote overall well-being.
As we advance in age, our cells start producing inflammatory proteins that contribute to the aging process. Interestingly, cancer treatments induce a similar inflammatory response by damaging cells, which can hinder the effectiveness of treatments.
This latest research, co-led by Professor Stephen Tait and his team from the School of Cancer Sciences, identifies a critical role played by mitochondria, the energy-producing structures within our cells.
The scientists observed that in older cells or following cancer treatment, mitochondria develop leaks, releasing DNA that triggers inflammation and accelerates the aging process. Significantly, when they prevented mitochondria from becoming leaky, it blocked inflammation and had a positive impact on overall health during aging.
This breakthrough discovery implies that targeting inflammation driven by mitochondria could represent a novel approach to support healthy aging and enhance the responsiveness of cancer therapies.
Professor Stephen Tait commented on their findings, stating, “Our research has unveiled an unexpected connection between mitochondria and the inflammatory responses in aging cells. We’ve found that mitochondrial permeability, a process closely associated with cell death, fosters inflammation in aged and damaged cells. This opens up exciting avenues for further investigation and the potential development of new therapies for aging and cancer.”
Source: University of Glasgow