[dropcap]A[/dropcap] “longevity gene” can help boost the production of blood cells by reversing the decline of stem cells in old age, a study suggests.
Blood-generating stem cells become slower in old age, increasing stress on the body, but infusing them with a gene linked to the ageing process can restore them to a more youthful state, researchers found.
The study, which was performed in mice, raises the possibility of new treatments for degenerative diseases which occur with age, such as Alzheimer’s.
More research willbeneeded to determine whether the findings in mice also apply to humans, but scientists claimed they could lead to the development of a “molecular fountain of youth”.
Scientists from the University of California, Berkeley found that SIRT3, a protein from a class known as sirtuins which has previously been linked to ageing, could actually help “reverse” the natural process.
They examined the functioning of blood stem cells, which help keep the blood system healthy, on mice which had lacked the gene responsible for producingSIRT3.