Gene linked to slimmer and healthier life

Oct 2 2009 - 11:20am
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British researchers discovered through experiments a certain gene in mice can not only extend their lives and prevented disease, but assist in slimming down as well.

Researchers discovered that deleting a gene linked to nutrients and growth helped mice to live 20 percent longer. In addition it showed why eating less appears to improve health and increase longevity which means a slimmer healthier life.

The team of researched discovered that female mice without S6K1 lived longer than the male mice and over 160 days longer than the control group. This indicates that female mouse lifespan increased by twenty percent.

Equally important to researchers was mice without S6K1 lost weight, even if they ate more than ordinary mice. It appears a substance that could block the expression of S6K1 would trick the body into thinking that you'd gone on a diet.

"What we have shown is that this gene is one that regulates life span and also determines how healthy animals are in middle and late age," said Dominic Withers of the Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology at University College London.

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Withers did this experiment by used what he called “knockout mice” which is mice bred with a certain gene removed or knocked out, for this study it was the ribosomal S6 protein kinase 1 (S6K1) gene. Removing the S6K1 meant the mice's bodies behaved in a similar way to mammals whose calorie intake is restricted, they said.

"These mice were resistant to type 2 diabetes and they also appeared to have reduced incidence of the mouse-equivalent of osteoporosis so they had stronger bones," Withers said. "Our results demonstrate that S6K1 influences healthy mammalian life span," he wrote in their study published in the journal Science.

There have been many calorie restriction studies and most of those studies have found that a deprivation is needed to attain longer-life benefits. Researchers are now trying to work on ways to replicate the findings with drugs.

“Since people live far longer than mice, it is almost impossible to study fully the effects of restricting calories in humans, but this study in mice and another recently in monkeys offer good clues for humans” Withers said.

"The big implication is that intervening in aging protects against a broad spectrum of aging-related diseases, and there is now a “druggable” pathway providing a means to do this which could be used, in principle, in people," he said.

Scientist will continue to research the S6K1 and hope to provide more information of the gene that can produce a slimmer healthier life.

Materials from AFP and Discovery News are used in preparing this report.
Written by Tyler Woods Ph.D.
Tucson, Arizona
Exclusive to eMaxHealth

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