Molecules in the brain trigger ageing

4 May


Molecules in the brain trigger ageing

Activity in the hypothalamus affects cognitive and physical decline.

Chris Palmer

01 May 2013

The area of the brain that controls growth, reproduction and
also kick-starts ageing, according to a study published today in
Nature1. The finding could lead to new treatments for age-related
illnesses, helping people to live longer.

Dongsheng Cai, a physiologist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine
New York, and his colleagues tracked the activity of NF-κB — a
that controls DNA transcription and is involved in inflammation and
body’s response to stress — in the brains of mice. They found that
molecule becomes more active in the brain area called the
as a mouse grows older.

Further tests suggested that NF-κB activity helps to determine when
display signs of ageing. Animals lived longer than normal when they
injected with a substance that inhibited the activity of NF-κB in
cells called microglia in the hypothalamus. Mice that received a
substance to stimulate the activity of NF-κB died earlier.

“We have provided scientific evidence for the concept that systemic
ageing is influenced by a particular tissue in the body,” says Cai.
Health and well-being


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