Latest research suggests cell nucleus plays a role in ageing

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Dna Cell nucleus

Scientific research is increasingly pointing to the fact that the
cell nucleus plays an important part in the ageing process - a
discovery that could revolutionise anti-ageing treatments.

The study, which was conducted by scientists at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the US, indicates that mutations in the nucleus structural protein lamin A can cause premature ageing syndrome.

However the research team have discovered that reversing inhibition of a splice contained in the lamin A protein can reverse the onset of mutations that often lead to signs of ageing, suggesting that lamin A is implicated in physiological ageing.

Further more the study also found that the cells of people aged over 80 tended to have specific problems that the nucleus of young children do not have, leading to obvious signs of ageing such as graying hair and wrinkling.

What the scientists now intend to do is work on establishing the idea that the normal ageing process is at least partly concerned with the decay of the nucleus. The biggest challenge will also be discovering a means of blocking out this process.

"If this really has a physiological role in normal elderly people then it's a huge deal,"​ David Sinclair, who heads up research into ageing at Harvard Medical School in the US, told Nature.com.

Cosmetic and personal care companies are currently making huge investments into the research and development of anti-ageing products. This falls in line with the demands of an ageing and increasingly affluent population that wants to maintain youthful and healthy looks.

This is now fuelling a multi-billion dollar industry that has triggered one of the fastest growing segments in the personal care market. All this means that any solution that shows promise in fighting signs of ageing is bound to make ears prick up.

Currently nanotechnology is thought to hold great potential in the fight against wrinkles, as it is believed that creating active anti-ageing ingredients in nano molecular form can increase efficacy.

However, this most recent research into cell nucleus protein could help further focus the development of technologies such nanotechnology-based active ingredients to improve efficacy still further.

Researchers Tom Misteli and Paola Scaffidi from the NCI says that healthy cells always make a trace amount of an aberrant form of lamin A, but that younger cells can sense and eliminate it. A proliferation of aberrant cells, found in older humans, causes the nucleus to wrinkle up, leading to physiological signs of ageing.

The big challenge the research team and other scientists now face is to try and find a means of blocking this proliferation.

According to Misteli pinpointing a solution to this means, "You can take these old cells and make them young again."

There are already drugs on the market that effectively enable this process to be carried out and animal experiments are currently being carried out to determine effectiveness.

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