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A longer-living, healthier mouse that could hold clues to human aging
Date:10/22/2007

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We do not yet fully understand why lacking IRS-1 leads to longer life in mice. One possible explanation is that it makes them only mildly insulin resistant and that this, rather than having a negative effect on health, increases stress resistance, protects from damage and generally triggers other reactions in the body which extend life without compromising health.

Dr David Gems, another of the studys authors, added: Other research has shown that mutations in single genes in the insulin pathway can extend the life of animals. However, our research adds new information because it shows that not only does manipulation of this pathway regulate how long animals live, it also shows that these effects allow the mice to stay healthier for longer. In these animals we see delay in the onset of age-related illnesses such as osteoporosis, diabetes and immune dysfunction. Obviously its much harder to study these mechanisms in humans because our life expectancy is so much longer, but this study and our other work on ageing are laying crucial scientific groundwork.

The study follows other ageing research pioneered at the UCL Centre for Research on Ageing, led by Professor Linda Partridge. The teams at the Centre analyse the cellular and biochemical mechanisms of ageing in fruit flies, nematode worms and mice, and in particular the role of insulin signalling. Their work was recognised in June 2007 by a Strategic Award from the Wellcome Trust totalling 5.1 million, to support their work examining what causes human bodies to age and decay. The UCL Institute of Healthy Ageing, incorporating the existing Centre, will be established in 2008 and will encourage further collaboration between UCL scientists working in this area.


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Contact: Ruth Metcalfe
r.metcalfe@ucl.ac.uk
020-767-99739
University College London
Source:Eurekalert

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