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Single molecule extends fat mice lives by reversing gene pathways associated with disease in obese

copies the AMPK gene, and chronic activation of AMPK is seen on calorie-restricted diets. The researchers examined the livers of the HCR fed group and found a strong tendency for AMPK activation, as well as two downstream indicators of its activity.

Calorie restriction and exercise have also been previously shown to increase the number of mitochondria in the liver. Mitochondria generate energy in cells. Through electron microscopy, investigators showed that the livers of the HCR fed mice had considerably more mitochondria than the HC group, and were not significantly different from those of the SD group.

Links to SIRT1

The team also asked if SIRT1 was activated by resveratrol in mice, as Sir2 is in lower organisms. To determine this, they looked at the amount of a specific chemical modification (acetylation) on the molecule PGC-1alpha. Removal of the "acetyl" chemical groups on PGC-1alpha activates this protein so that it can turn on certain genes that generate mitochondria and turn muscle into the type suited for endurance. The only enzyme known to remove the acetyl chemical groups on PGC-1alpha is SIRT1, and therefore the activity of PGC-1alpha is one of the most reliable and specific markers of SIRT1 activity in mammals. The research team found that levels of PGC-1alpha were three-fold lower in the HCR fed mice than in the HC mice, consistent with what would be expected when SIRT1 was being activated by resveratrol.

"This work demonstrates that there may be tremendous medical benefits to unlocking the secrets behind the genes that control our longevity," says Sinclair, "No doubt many more remain to be discovered in coming years."


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Source:Harvard Medical School


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