Could Age Reversal in Mice be Applied to Humans?
Harvard researchers at Dana Farber Cancer Institute have successfully engineered mice with a controllable telomerase gene that partially reverses aging. The findings could be applied for helping humans with age related problems, particularly those with rare genetic premature aging disorders and possibly the rest of us.
Telomeres that are part of DNA erode with aging. Longer telomeres are linked to a longer lifespan. The Harvard scientists tested the genetically engineered controllable gene in mice, finding that switching the teleromase enzyme off caused them to age, while reactivating the gene reversed many aspects of the aging process. The mice regained cognitive functioning and became fertile from new brain and testes growth.
Researchers Reverse many Signs of Aging in Mice
The scientists found many signs of age reversal in the mice, including increased size of testes, brain and spleen. Ronald A. DePinho, a Harvard Medical School (HMS) professor of genetics says, “One of the most amazing changes was in the animals’ testes, which were essentially barren as aging caused the death and elimination of sperm cells. When we restored telomerase, the testes produced new sperm cells, and the animals’ fecundity was improved — their mates gave birth to larger litters.”