Navigation Links
Scientists uncover exciting lead into premature aging and heart disease

Scientists have discovered that they can dramatically increase the life span of mice with progeria (premature ageing disease) and heart disease (caused by Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy) by reducing levels of a protein called SUN1. This research was done by A*STAR's Institute of Medical Biology (IMB) in collaboration with their partners at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States and the Institute of Cellular and System Medicine in Taiwan. Their findings were published in the prestigious scientific journal, Cell, on 27th April 2012 and provide an exciting lead into developing new methods to treat premature aging and heart disease.

Children with progeria suffer symptoms of premature ageing and mostly die in their early teens from either heart attack or stroke. Individuals with Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (AD-EDMD) suffer from muscle wasting and cardiomyopathy, a type of heart disease that weakens and enlarges the heart muscle making it harder for the heart to pump blood and deliver it to the rest of the body leading to heart failure. Both diseases are caused by mutations in Lamin A, a protein in the membrane surrounding a cell's nucleus which provides mechanical support to the nucleus. SUN1 is a protein also found in the inner nuclear membrane, but there have been no previous studies to show how SUN1 interacts with the Lamin proteins.

The scientists wanted to investigate if SUN1 had any involvement in diseases caused by mutations in Lamin A, so they inactivated SUN1 in mouse models developed for progeria and AD-EDMD. These mouse models for progeria and AD-EDMD usually thrive poorly and have markedly short life spans as they die from premature ageing and heart failure respectively. However, by inactivating SUN1 and reducing SUN1 levels in these mouse models, the scientists observed that the life spans of the mouse models for progeria and AD-EDMD doubled and tripled respectively.

"We actually expected that knocking out Sun1 in these mouse models would worsen their conditions and cause them to die faster but surprisingly we observed the opposite. This is the first time that Sun1 protein has been implicated in diseases linked to Lamin A and it is exciting how basic research has led to a discovery that can potentially have significant impact on us," said Rafidah Abdul Mutalif, who is pursuing her PhD at IMB and one of the main authors of this paper.

Prof. Colin Stewart, Principle Investigator at IMB, said, "Notably, the heart muscle of the mice was restored to near normal function and cardiac function improved when the levels of SUN1 were reduced. Mutations in Lamin A are frequently reported as a cause of heart disease and especially within a group of hereditary cardiomyopathies. This opens up a possibility that from these observations, reduction in SUN1 maybe of therapeutic use for other forms of heart disease. We are very excited about this discovery and look forward to further pursuing this lead which could potentially lead to development of new treatments for heart diseases."


Contact: Ong Siok Ming
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore

Related biology news :

1. March of Dimes awards $250,000 prize to 2 scientists who pioneered advances in skin disorders
2. Scientists provide first large-scale estimate of reef shark losses in the Pacific Ocean
3. Stanford and MIT scientists win Perl-UNC Neuroscience prize
4. Queens is UK leader for female scientists and engineers
5. Scientists uncover strong support for once-marginalized theory on Parkinsons disease
6. Scientists develop new technique that could improve heart attack prediction
7. Scientists advance field of research with publication of newly validated method for analyzing flavanols in cocoa
8. Scripps research scientists find anticonvulsant drug helps marijuana smokers kick the habit
9. Scientists have discovered genes that increase the risk of osteoporosis and fractures
10. Marine scientists urge government to reassess oil spill response
11. Scientists find Achilles heel in life-threatening malaria parasites
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/12/2015)... Research and Markets ( ) ... Recognition Market by Component (Hardware & Software), Product ... Industry (Travel & Immigration, Military & Defense, & ... report to their offering. ... Market worth 3627.90 Million USD by 2020 ...
(Date:10/7/2015)... 8, 2015 --> ... Cards (FPC) during third quarter 2015 amounted to around 960 ... 860 MSEK that was communicated 20 August 2015. ... delivery capacity and a continued growing demand for the company,s ... to be higher than during the third quarter. The revenue ...
(Date:10/2/2015)... ) has ... Law Using Biometrics" report to their offering. ... addition of the "Enforcing the Law Using ... Research and Markets ( ) has ... Law Using Biometrics" report to their offering. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2015)... de octubre de 2015 El 8 de ... un récord en el congreso con su declaración acerca ... International Plasma Awareness Week (IPAW), que se celebrará del ... por la Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA) ... , Aumentar la concienciación mundial acerca de la ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... , October 12, 2015 LabStyle ... Diabetes Management Solution, today announced its Medical Director, Dr. ... study at MobiHealth,s 5th EAI International Conference on ... healthcare through innovations in mobile and wireless technologies," the ... from October 14 - 16, 2015. The ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... October 12, 2015 , ... Dr. Carl Peck, MD, ... the firm as a Premier Expert consultant. NDA Partners Premier Experts are ... value to the company's clients. Premier Experts collaborate to design and implement ...
(Date:10/11/2015)... ... October 11, 2015 , ... Intelligent Implant Systems, ... launched and multiple surgeries have been completed with this new posterior thoracolumbar spinal ... & Spine Center of the Carolinas. The Revolution™ Spinal System pioneers a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: