Killing certain aging cells in vivo can prolong life span

A new study used genetically engineered mice to conduct experiments and the results showed that killing aging cells in vivo can prolong life span.

In these experiments, the researchers used drugs to kill some aging cells in mice when they were in the state of middle age. It was found that these mice lived a longer time on average than those who did not take drugs. But it is also necessary to conduct more experiments to find out whether these results can be applied or how to apply to other species except mice. In the study, researchers used genetic engineering to inject drug to the body of mice to kill aging cells and other cells are not affected at all.

Christin Burd, assistant professor of molecular genetics at Ohio State University who didn’t involve in the study, noted that the reason that the drugs can be effective is that these mice are transgenic mice. But researchers “can’t produce transgenic human”. In other words, we can’t be sure whether the findings can be applied in humans and have the same result. But she said that if someday researchers can find the method from the findings to remove the aging cells in human body, “it may have a big impact on health care”. The aging cells (or senescent cells) investigated in the study were dysfunctional cells which had stopped dividing. Their existence would bring some diseases related to aging.

In the study, researchers developed genetically engineered mice and then when these mice were 12 years old (middle age of rodents), researchers began to inject drugs into these mice to kill these cells. The researchers also have another set of mice and injected placebo solution instead of the drugs mentioned above. The results showed that mice whose senescent cells were killed lived relatively longer. According to the study published in the journal Nature February 3, compared to the control group of mice, the mice injected with drugs had an increase of the average life expectancy of 24 to 27%. The researchers also found that the aging-related symptoms (such as: cataracts, kidney or heart function deterioration, etc.) of mice injected drugs appeared slower than that of the control group. The researchers said the findings showed that in the normal aging process, the existence of senescent cells in mice would shorten their life span and the time of a healthy state.

Two clinical science professors at Imperial College in London, Jesus Gil and Dominic Withers who were not involved in this study, commented on the study that “These findings show that the removal of senescent cells can indeed delay aging and increase healthy time”. But Gil and Withers also pointed out that aging cells are also relevant to certain important cellular processes such as wound healing. They say in the article that although this new research shows that removing these cells will only have a bit of side effects, “Any aging-based therapy must carefully control the harmful effects that may occur in the future.”

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