Scientists have found a way to reverse cell aging

    Many people dream that during their lifetime they will find a way to stop aging. Now you can stop dreaming. Real life surpassed science fiction. Researchers were able not only to stop, but also to reverse the aging process — by bringing the human cells back to their “young” state. True, so far only in the laboratory. Scientists expect that soon their discovery will allow you to create drugs against the natural degeneration of tissues. And indicate what products we need to use to achieve a similar effect in your body.

    The main question: why are we getting old

    Aging can be seen as a progressive decline in the quality of the human body. It is associated with most chronic diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and dementia. There are many reasons why our cells and tissues stop functioning. But recently, scientists believe that the main culprit is the accumulation of so-called "old" cells.

    “Old cells” are damaged cells that not only do not work properly (for example, cease to divide), but also disrupt the functions of the cells around them. They demonstrate a radically altered degenerative phenotype in comparison with their growing counterparts. The less aging cells inside you, or the faster they are replaced by new ones - the physically younger you are.

    Old cage

    The elimination of these old, poorly functioning cells in animals in 2011 showed a slowdown in the progression of diseases associated with aging. For example, it avoided the development of cataracts in mice.

    Scientists are still not exactly sure why we have more and more of these "old" cells as we grow up. Among the likely culprits are random DNA damage, the effects of inflammation in the tissues and damage over time of protective molecules ( telomeres ) at the end of the chromosomes. Until the 1970s, there was a perception that each cell has a certain number of division cycles, after which it stops and dies, but then proved that it is not: the cell can become outdated at any time, with a certain chance depending on the surrounding environment. her surroundings.

    One of the latest theories that has gained popularity is that cell aging is caused by the loss of their ability to turn genes on and off at the right time and in the right place.

    Genes and their messages

    As we grow older, we lose the ability to control the work of our genes. Each cell in the body contains all the information necessary for the development of life: even from your saliva, in theory, you can grow your clone. But not all genes are “included” in different tissues and different situations. This allows the cells of the heart to be different from the cells of the liver or kidney, despite the fact that they all contain the same genes.

    Left - normal cell, right - old cell

    When a gene is activated by signals from inside or outside the cell, it sends out a molecular message (RNA). This message stores all the information necessary to create what this gene will do. Since 2008, we know that 95% of our genes can send several different types of messages - depending on the needs of the cell. So the cell “informs” of its tissue, which it now needs for normal development. Each gene can be considered a “recipe” for what the cell wants to do: if it was born in the kitchen making chocolate cakes, and all the shelves around are filled with sugar and vanilla, this is her only way to ask the body to go to the store for new purchases. And if the recipes cease to be sent, the cell gradually “loses weight” and ceases to perform its function.

    The decision about what type of message a cell will give out at any given time is made by a group of about 300 proteins, which are now called “ splicing factors ” (“compound factors”). Over time, the volume of such factors, which are produced by the body, decreases. As a result, there is an accumulation of “old” cells that are not able to include the genes they need and respond to changes in the environment.

    Recent studies have shown that the levels of these important protein regulators are reduced in blood samples of the elderly, as well as in isolated human aging cells of different types of tissue.

    How to restore the "old" cells

    Protein regulators and, accordingly, the genes in the "old" cells can be made to work again. The cell does not die, it simply loses the ability to properly perform its function. So, it is necessary to “shake” it, and give it back to the execution of its tasks. Recently, a way to return to our cells back to their "young" as demonstrated Lorna Harris, Matt Vaytmen and their team from the University of Exeter ( here their work can be read free of charge).

    Prof. Lorna Harris

    In their report, scientists explain how they tried to find ways to start releasing the release of "splicing factors". It turned out that if the old cells were treated with a chemical containing a small amount of hydrogen sulfide (H 2 S), the number of “splicing factors” grows, the genes begin to turn on, and the cell resumes its normal operation.

    Earlier, in April of this year, a group of 12 scientists showed that H 2 S reduces the disease associated with aging in animals. But the substance is very toxic in large doses, and the researchers could not find a way to deliver it safely to the right part of the cell. Various modulators were tested - chemical compounds that could “sail” to the cell, produce a chemical reaction with it, and give it hydrogen sulfide.

    From a 2013 study , it was known that the hydrogen sulfide donor GYY4137 can help with atherosclerosis if given to mice. He slowly releases H 2 S, mimicking the standard activity of a healthy organism. With it, scientists and were able to deliver the H 2 S molecule directly to the mitochondria - the structure responsible for the production of energy in the cell.

    Delivery of H 2 S into a human cell by different methods, the result after 24 hours (the blacker - the older the cell is, that is, the less it has in working regulator genes)

    For 24 hours, cells were given 100 μg / ml Na-GYY4137 (several other H 2 S donor options were also tested - AP39, AP123 and RT01). Dr. Eva Latorre, who helped in the study, was struck by the scale and speed of changes in the cells:

    When I saw how many cells in the culture began to return to activity, I could not believe it. Old cells began to look like young ones.

    Professor Harris says in the report:

    Our research shows that if you act on old cells with molecules that restore the levels of splicing factors, these cells may again begin to show some features of youth. They begin to grow again, and their telomeres - the endings of chromosomes, which contract with age - become longer, as if they are on young cells. Now more research is needed to establish the true potential for these kinds of approaches to address the degenerative effects of aging.

    Harris and Whiteman expect that with the help of such molecular tools, it will be possible to eliminate the “old” cells in living people and return them to normal operation. They are not sure that this will radically prolong the life of a person (say, up to 150 years), but they say that this will definitely improve the quality of life of old people, allowing them to reduce the effects of chronic diseases, as well as reduce the chances of stroke, heart disease and cancer .

    Fountain of youth

    From reading all these studies, I learned one important thing for myself. It turns out that garlic is very helpful . It contains allicin (which is the cause of the characteristic strong smell). And as a result of the reaction of allicin with erythrocytes, a small amount of hydrogen sulfide is formed. This helps to reduce the tension of blood vessels (in studies - up to 72%). Hydrogen sulfide in small doses protects the body from cardiovascular diseases and shows anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, vasodilating and cytoprotective properties. He also ( ladies, close your eyes) plays a role in the expansion of blood vessels of the penis, necessary for the implementation of erection. And now it has also been confirmed that under favorable conditions, it can reverse the process of cell aging, restoring the normal functioning of their genes.

    One of the leaders of the research team that investigated this effect, Dr. David Kraus, says that:

    The results of our work show that it is extremely useful to include garlic in your diet. In countries with high consumption of garlic, in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, there is a low level of cardiovascular diseases.

    Researchers also suggest using red blood cell hydrogen sulphide excretion to standardize garlic-based food supplements.

    After reading this, I will probably try to include garlic in my diet, even though I don’t like it. Unfortunately, to “hack” the system, swallowing whole teeth, to avoid a nasty smell, will not work here. Allicin appears in garlic only if it is cut or cut through: when a cell is destroyed, a chemical reaction occurs and it is synthesized from the precursor of alliin and the enzyme allicinase. A clove, eaten whole, does not have special healing properties, as well as thermally processed garlic (yes, all that garlic you ate in a pilaf or borscht is not considered). But the grated crumbs of bread crust is already starting to work full.

    The results of the study of resveratol (the same team worked with him in 2017)

    The use of garlic is not recommended for kidney diseases, gallstones, stomach or intestinal ulcers, hepatitis and other liver diseases. An alternative that was also previously tested by Lorna Harris and Matt Whiteman, albeit with a lesser effect, is an analogue of resveratol . This substance can be found in red wine, dark chocolate, the skin of red grapes and blueberries, cocoa and peanuts. Biological effects are not as strong as in allicin, but resveratol also unambiguously rejuvenates human cells - at least in vitro.

    Other studies on how to fight aging last year have an excellent post written by @mary_arti .

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