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Controlling the triggers of age-related inflammation could extend 'healthspan'
Date:10/21/2013

Inflammation is the common denominator of many chronic age-related diseases such as arthritis, gout, Alzheimer's, and diabetes. But according to a Yale School of Medicine study, even in the absence of a disease, inflammation can lead to serious loss of function throughout the body, reducing healthspan that portion of our lives spent relatively free of serious illness and disability.

Published as the cover article in the October issue of Cell Metabolism, the study found that immune sensor Nlrp3 inflammasome is a common trigger of this inflammation-driven loss of function that manifests itself in insulin-resistance, bone loss, frailty, and cognitive decline in aging.

As the elderly population increases, clinicians are seeing a spike in age-related diseases, but scientists did not fully understand the role of inflammation. What is commonly known is that as we age, our cells change, leading the immune system to produce chronic, low-level inflammation throughout the body. Aging is also a major risk factor for multiple chronic diseases, but according to the researchers, biomedical enterprise spends billions of dollars to tackle each age-dependent disease separately.

"This is the first study to show that inflammation is causally linked to functional decline in aging," said lead author Vishwa Deep Dixit, professor of comparative medicine and immunobiology at Yale School of Medicine. "There are multiple cellular triggers of inflammation throughout the body, but we've pinpointed Nlrp3 as the specific sensor that activates inflammation with age."

"If aging is indeed a common factor for multiple diseases, the unanswered question is, can we identify the triggers of aging that cause low-level inflammation so that 'switching off' the trigger can slow the onset of multiple chronic diseases that are age-dependent at their onset," Dixit added. "Since aging affects us all, if this goal can be achieved, it is likely to significantly i
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Contact: Karen Peart
karen.peart@yale.edu
203-432-1326
Yale University
Source:Eurekalert  

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