Posted on Jun 03, 2018, 2 p.m.
New discovery from the University of Virginia School of Medicine about aging effects in cells could lead to cures to diabetes, fatty liver disease, and other metabolic diseases, as well as help turn back the clock on aging.
Unwanted effects of aging may be the result of cell nuclei getting wrinkly, the wrinkles appear to prevent genes from functioning properly. While there isn’t a wrinkle cream that can be used on nuclear membranes, there is possibility: viruses; viruses might be used to smooth membrane surfaces and help restore cell functions to as they once were in more youthful times.
Location of DNA inside cell nucleus has been shown to be critically important; as genes are turned off they are shoved up against the nuclear membrane, with age membranes become irregular and lumpy which prevents genes from turning off appropriately, creating problems.
Studying models of fatty liver, it was found that livers become studded with fat with age because of wrinkly nuclear membranes, when the membrane is not functioning properly it can release DNA that is supposed to be turned off, making the little liver cell become a little fat cell. The liver can end up looking a bit like swiss cheese. Accumulation of fat within the liver can have serious health effects such as increasing risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and potentially leading to death.
Membrane wrinkling stems from lack of lamin, putting back appropriate amounts of lamin might smooth out the membrane, much like Retinal smooths face wrinkles. Getting to that point is the challenge, viruses could be used to a carrier to deliver the shipment. Modifying viruses for beneficial medical purposes is already being done, it would be easy to get a modified virus to the liver because of the organ’s role in detoxifying the body, according to the researchers.
Irina M. Bochkis, Phd suspects this nuclear membrane wrinkling is responsible for unwanted aging in other parts of the body as well, in her opinion it is a universal mechanism.
Materials provided by University of Virginia Health System.
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Holly Whitton, Larry N. Singh, Marissa A. Patrick, Andrew J. Price, Fernando G. Osorio, Carlos López-Otín, Irina M. Bochkis. Changes at the nuclear lamina alter binding of pioneer factor Foxa2 in aged liver. Aging Cell, 2018; 17 (3): e12742 DOI: 10.1111/acel.12742