Science News

Scientists delay aging of older mice with molecules taken from young mice

A group of scientists, through research published on Cell Metabolism, announces that they have extended the life span of a group of elderly mice by about 16% by inserting into their bodies a special protein contained in the blood of the youngest mice.

This protein, called eNAMPT (extracellular nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase), decreases in blood with age (both in rodents and in people and many other animals) which in parallel increases the health problems typical of old age, such as the weight gain, vision problems and all problems related to cognitive declines.

The eNAMPT protein plays an important role in those cells that produce energy in the body but become less and less efficient. Specifically, these proteins produce a sort of “fuel,” called NAD, which the body uses to remain active at all times. As Shin-ichiro Imai, professor of developmental biology at the University of Washington and senior author of the study, explains, this is a remarkable discovery as it could lead to completely new therapeutic pathways to make bodies healthier during the aging.

The same research group, however, has also experimented with another method to keep NAD levels constant with advancing age which sees the use of a molecule called NMN. Also, in this case, the researchers carried out experiments on mice by giving them this molecule by mouth and obtaining more or less the same effects.

This means, according to the researchers themselves, that the methods for ensuring that NAD levels do not decline ruinously with age are different.