Study published in Cell provides first systemic understanding of aging gut

17 Jan

Altering the community of gut bacteria promotes health and increases lifespan Study published in Cell provides first systemic understanding of aging gut “Jasper says the bacterial load in fly intestines increases dramatically with age, resulting in an inflammatory condition. The imbalance is driven by chronic activation of the stress response gene FOXO (something that happens with age), which suppresses the activity of a class of molecules (PGRP-SCs, homologues of PGLYRPs in humans) that regulate the immune response to bacteria. PGRP-SC suppression deregulates signaling molecules (Rel/NFkB) that are important to mount an effective immune response to gut bacteria. The resulting immune imbalance allows bacterial numbers to expand, triggering an inflammatory response that includes the production of free radicals. Free radicals, in turn, cause over-proliferation of stem cells in the gut, resulting in epithelial dysplasia, a pre-cancerous state. Jasper said the most exciting result of their study occurred when his group increased the expression of PGRP-SC in epithelial cells of the gut, which restored the microbial balance and limited stem cell proliferation. This enhancement of PGRP-SC function, which could be mimicked by drugs, was sufficient to increase lifespan of flies. “If we can understand how aging affects our commensal population – first in the fly and then in humans – – our data suggest that we should be able to impact health span and life span quite strongly, because it is the management of the commensal population that is critical to the health of the organism.” ### Other Buck Institute researchers contributing to the study include Linlin Guo and Jason Karpac, as well as Susan L. Tran, from the Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY. The work was supported by the National Institute on Aging (NIH RO1 AG02812), the Ellison Medical Foundation (AG-SS-224-08), and by the American Federation for Aging Research.

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