Posted on May 04, 2011, 6 a.m.
Eight genes that control levels of the hormone DHEAS, thought to play a key role in longevity, have been identified by a international group of scientists.
Researchers have identified eight genes that control levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS). It has long been known that the concentration of DHEAS declines rapidly with age, and this has led to speculation that a relative DHEAS deficiency may contribute to common age-related diseases or diminished longevity. To investigate this researchers, led by Dr Dr Guangju Zhai of King's College London in the UK, analysed DHEAS levels and 2.5 million genetic variants in 14,846 people. Results identified eight common genes that control the blood concentration of DHEAS, some of which are also associated with age-related diseases, including type 2 diabetes and lymphoma. The researchers concluded that their findings "suggest that molecular pathways involved in aging and longevity may also underlie DHEAS regulation, suggesting shared genetic components in both processes and corroborating a role for DHEAS as a marker of biological aging."
Guangju Zhai, Alexander Teumer, Lisette Stolk, John R.B. Perry, Liesbeth Vandenput, Andrea D. Coviello, et al. Eight common genetic variants associated with serum DHEAS levels suggest a key role in ageing mechanisms. PLoS Genetics, 2011;7:e1002025. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1002025