Monday, May 29, 2006

Old and wrinkled cell nuclei

` Hey, lookit, everyone! I have enough time to do a semi-original post with an article from Nature! Without further ado:

` It has been discovered that the cellular nuclei of the elderly are malformed and warped, rather than being round like that of young children. It has been suggested that the wrinkles on the inside of the cell have something to do with the wrinkles on the outside of the person.

"If this really has a physiological role in normal elderly people then it's a huge deal," says David Sinclair who studies the molecular mechanisms of ageing at Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
` Of course, there are other microscopic changes linked with aging: Mice with mitochondrial DNA that cannot repair itself will age at an amazing rate. Also, the more cellular damage (through reactive oxygen species) that one accumulates, the faster one seems to age. And don't forget telomeres, which are the structures at the ends of chromosomes; they get shorter and more frayed every time a cell reproduces.
` One useful area of aging research comes from studying children with disorders that cause them to age at an accelerated rate, making them grey, bald, wrinkled and susceptible to the diseases of old age.
In 2003, scientists showed that one such rare disorder, called Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS), is caused by a mutation that affects the lamin A protein, a building block of the nucleus and its wall. Now Tom Misteli and Paola Scaffidi at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, have shown that elderly people tend to have the same problem with their cell nuclei, suggesting that this protein is important in the normal ageing process.
...In cells taken from the elderly, the nuclei tend to be wrinkled up, the DNA accumulates damage, and the levels of some proteins that package up DNA go askew, the team reports in Science1. This mirrors the same changes that they previously observed in cells from HGPS children.
` Apparently, lamin A is produced by all cells, though elderly cells cannot get rid of it. However, if you prevent it from being produced in the first place, the nucleus goes back to normal!
"You can take these old cells and make them young again," Misteli says.
` Perhaps, then, there is a way to get lamin A to back off, thereby slowing the aging process! Only time (and poor little quivering lab mice) will tell!


Aaron said...

Fountain of youth, huh? Interesting post Spoony.

S E E Quine said...

` Just think of it.... With all the modern medical science, we may have the opportunity to be in reasonably good condition until age 110!

Anonymous said...

Ah ha! So you are still around! Good Good.

Master Shadow

Galtron said...

Yeah, I suppose I wouldn't mind living to 110 if I was in OK shape.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.