Posted on Jun 18, 2019, 5 p.m.
The body may produce its own fountain of youth known as the enzyme eNAMPT, this enzyme is hoped to have the same anti-aging properties in humans as it has shown in animal studies.
As published in the journal Cell Metabolism the recently uncovered pathway towards healthy aging when administered to mice led to a 16% increase in lifespan, according to Dr. Shinichiro Imai, Ph.D of the Washington University School of Medicine. The hypothalamus which is responsible for regulating metabolic processes such as hunger, thirst, sleep wake cycles, and temperature also produces this enzyme.
"We were surprised by the dramatic differences between the old mice that received the eNAMPT of young mice and old mice that received saline as a control. These are old mice with no special genetic modifications, and when supplemented with eNAMPT, their wheel-running behavior, sleep patterns and physical appearance -- thicker, shinier fur, for example -- resemble that of young mice. That we can take eNAMPT from the blood of young mice and give it to older mice and see that the older mice show marked improvements in health -- including increased physical activity and better sleep -- is remarkable," said Imai.
NAD plays roles in metabolism, DNA repair and overall longevity and aging; NAD is suggested to govern how long we live and how healthy we are as we age. Cells start to experience difficulty producing energy and NAD with age, this is where eNAMPT comes into play: taking eNAMPT from the blood of younger mice and giving it to older mice was found to boost NAD levels and stave off aging. Further studies are required to investigate whether eNAMPT levels correlate with human aging related disease or lifespan.
“Since we know that NAD inevitably declines with age, whether in worms, fruit flies, mice, or people, many researchers are interested in finding antiaging interventions that might maintain NAD levels as we get older. We could predict, with surprising accuracy, how long mice would live based on their levels of circulating eNAMPT. We don't know yet if this association is present in people, but it does suggest that eNAMPT levels should be studied further to see if it could be used as a potential biomarker of aging." explains Imai.
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