Hypothalamus Controls Aging8 years, 3 months ago
Posted on Jun 11, 2013, 6 a.m.
A study on mice suggests that the hypothalamus may control aging throughout the body.
The hypothalamus, a small almond-sized structure located deep within the brain, has been found to control aging in mice. Dongsheng Cai, M.D., Ph.D., professor of molecular pharmacology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, and colleagues studied hypothalamic inflammation in mice by focusing on a protein complex called NF-κB (nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells). Results showed that activating the NF-κB pathway in the hypothalamus significantly accelerated the development of aging, as shown by various physiological, cognitive, and behavioral tests, and shortened the lifespan. On the other hand, blocking the NF-κB pathway was shown to slow aging and increase median longevity by approximately 20%. "It's clear from our study that many aspects of aging are controlled by the hypothalamus. What's exciting is that it's possible – at least in mice – to alter signaling within the hypothalamus to slow down the aging process and increase longevity," said Professor Cai.
Guo Zhang, Juxue Li, Sudarshana Purkayastha, Yizhe Tang, Hai Zhang, Ye Yin, Bo Li, Gang Liu, Dongsheng Cai. Hypothalamic programming of systemic ageing involving IKK-β, NF-κB and GnRH. Nature. 2013;497:211-216.