According to exciting new research, the genes of people who live to be 100 may one day help others stay heart healthy longer.
A team of British and Italian researchers has discovered that a specific mutated gene in so-called “super-agers” who reach their centenarians could be used to help people with heart failure set back ten years, as detailed in a groundbreaking study published in the journal Cardiovascular research.
Building on the discovery of the longevity-associated gene variant known as BPIFB4 in 2018, researchers conducted experiments on human cells in test tubes and later on mice to see if the genes were still capable of rolling back the biological clock when introduced into a laboratory. instead of being inherited.
Incredibly, they found that introducing it into damaged cells can both halt and even reverse heart aging.
“Cells from elderly patients, especially those that support the construction of new blood vessels, called ‘pericytes’, have been shown to be less efficient and older,” said Monica Cattaneo, researcher at MultiMedica Group in Italy and co-author, in a press release.
“By adding the longevity gene/protein to the test tube, we observed a process of cardiac rejuvenation: the heart cells of elderly patients with heart failure began to function properly again, proving to be more efficient in building new blood vessels. blood,” added Cattaneo.
The researchers also found that these same cells also appeared to have reduced expression of BPIFB4. In other words, people who tend to develop heart problems may actually be missing this key protein for longevity.
As Paolo Madedu, a professor at the University of Bristol and co-author, notes, these findings suggest that introducing a protein into the cells of patients with heart problems may be an alternative to gene therapy, which, although Being a promising branch of medical treatment, rest carries a number of associated risks, including the potential for developing cancer.
“Our results confirm that the healthy mutant gene can reverse cardiac performance decline in the elderly,” Madedu said in the press release. “Now we want to see if giving the protein instead of the gene might also work.”
Obviously, this type of potential treatment will take many years to perfect – but either way, it could be a huge victory in the war against heart disease.
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