Scientists from the University of Bristol and the MultiMedica Group in Italy have discovered a gene in a population of centenarians that helps keep their hearts young by protecting them against age-related diseases such as heart failure.
This anti-aging gene was found in a group of people who live in the so-called “blue zones” of the planet, where it is speculated that people live longer than average. The researchers showed that one of these healthy mutant genes turned out to be common in centenarians and can protect cells collected from heart failure patients requiring heart transplantation.
The Bristol team, led by Professor Paolo Madeddu, found that a single administration of the mutant anti-aging gene halted the decline in heart function in middle-aged mice. And when given to elderly mice, the gene pushed back the age of the heart’s biological clock by the human equivalent of more than ten years. The study was also conducted on test-tube human heart cells in Italy. Researchers at the MultiMedica Group in Milan led by Professor Annibale Puca administered the gene into heart cells from elderly patients with severe heart problems, including transplantation, and then compared its function with that of healthy individuals.
The results of the study suggest that this protein could be a valuable tool in the fight against aging and heart disease. While it’s important to note that more research still needs to be done before these findings can be applied to humans, the discovery is encouraging and could open up new possibilities for treating heart failure and other aging-related problems in the future.
More information at bristol.ac.uk