People have always wanted to live longer lives. Now, with the advancements in science, it seems feasible. Many things contribute to this longevity; better health, considerable improvements in treating a variety of diseases, vaccinations, and even better sanitation. However, in addition to these breakthroughs, scientists are still searching for ways to combat the aging process so that humans can look younger longer and live longer as well.
What Happens to Cells?
Normally, cells stop being as active as when the individual was young and eventually, they stop dividing altogether. They go senescent or dormant and are partially to blame for bodily decline as a person ages. However, researchers at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom made an incredible discovery that seems to reverse the aging process.
Mitochondria and Splicing Factors
Generally, researchers have a significant interest in how mitochondria react. These are the structures within cells that are responsible for providing a cell with power. The scientists’ goal was to work on the aging mitochondria, so they used endothelial cellular components (blood cell lining). They also looked into splicing the mitochondria, which would determine the product that a gene would produce at any time.
The researchers created chemicals that relied on two different splicing mechanisms: SRSF2 or HNRNPD. Previously, researchers linked these two proteins with cellular changes related to the aging process. From there, the researchers designed AP39, AP123, and RT01, three compounds that are meant to provide a tiny bit of hydrogen sulfide gas to mitochondria.
The scientists then showed that this minute amount of gas encourages the splicing factors and provides a boost to mitochondria.
Aging and Disease
One of the researchers, Lorna Harris, stated that the findings were important in showing that senescence (deterioration) accumulates as people grow older, which results in cellular function deteriorating. She stressed this is not only an effect of the aging process itself but is why humans age in general.
Harris said that the findings go much further than simple cellular aging. She stated that diseases related to aging, such as cancer, diabetes, and dementia are all unique but can be traced back to one or two mechanisms. Harris concluded that the research her team conducted may pave the way for therapeutic measures in the future.
The researchers wanted to point out that their work is not based on prolonging for the sake of living longer in general. Instead, it focuses on lengthening the lifespan of a healthy person. However, aging is a topic that’s still full of many mysteries. Scientists hope to eventually understand it better so that there can be progress made in terms of treating a wide range of medical conditions related to the aging process.