Posted on May 09, 2023, 2 p.m.
Researchers have been working diligently in hopes of finding the proverbial fountain of youth to extend both health and lifespans. According to a team of researchers from Augusta University, they may have discovered how to help aging bodies maintain their health and vitality, and their findings were published in the journal Aging and Disease.
During the aging process, our bodies produce microRNA that contributes to a host of problems that are associated with aging, such as bone and muscle loss. MicroRNA-141-3p in particular is linked to several of the serious health issues that the majority of older adults might face, that is unless science can intervene.
“When we age in all these complications like chronic inflammation, muscle loss, bone loss, this microRNA is elevated,” says Sadanand Fulzele, DVM, Ph.D., an aging researcher in the Department of Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. “We wanted to suppress it.”
For this study mice were genetically engineered to mimic the health of humans in their 60s, and these animals were treated twice a week for three months with subcutaneous injections of a molecule that was designed to shut off microRNA called antagomir. The researchers monitored changes that occurred in the spleen, muscle, bone, and blood of the animals, finding more youthful profiles in the aged mice everywhere they looked. The researchers report finding more anti-inflammatory M2 macrophage cells than pro-inflammatory M1 cells. This is important because M2 cells are known to repair tissue which is useful for preserving health and fighting senescence. They also report finding decreased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokine proteins, as well as more solid bone and larger muscle fibers.
MicroRNA-141-3p was revealed to regulate the genetic expression of AUF1, which has several critical roles including regulating the stability of messenger RNA and protecting against the overproduction of pro-inflammatory products such as IL-6 which can lead to chronic inflammation. When levels of microRNA-141-3p are elevated there are fewer numbers of AUF1, but by blocking the microRNA the levels of AUF1 can increase which reduces inflammation levels.
Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are serious problems regardless of age, they are hallmarks of aging, and signs that the body is under strain and possibly weakening. Chronic inflammation when fueled by stress within the body can lead to increased incidence of problems ranging from frailty, dementia, cancer, and heart diseases.
The researchers are searching for effective ways to prevent damage rather than trying to return the body back to a normal state by exploring how repressing the microRNA impacts age-related concerns like cognition. The team is also investigating possible long-term effects of antagomir use and reported no observed adverse side effects over the three-month period of this study.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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