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What Has Aging Done to Your Body?

Study revealed the molecular changes that occur in the human body's aging process, providing new hope for the treatment of aging-related dieases.

Mankind has never stopped the pursuit of immortality from ancient times. And now scientists are gradually unveiling the secrets of aging, seeking clues to extend life and treatment of aging-related diseases in the molecular mechanisms. Published in Nature Communications, this large-scale study revealed the molecular changes that occur in the human body's aging process.

In the last journey of life, aging makes the body functions degenerate gradually, getting closer and closer to death. A thorough understanding of this process is not easy, for the human aging is quite complex. Research team in Exeter University conducted the largest to date human molecular aging research. They collected around the world fifteen thousand human blood samples and analyzed changes in gene expression in the aging process.

In gene expression, genetic information is passed from DNA to RNA and eventually form the corresponding protein. The researchers hope to find a practical indicator of human aging through a blood test. In total, they identified 1,497 aging genes, 1,450 of which are newly discovered genes. These genes revealed a close associate of aging and diet, smoking, exercise and other factors.

With the increasing of age, we will be more susceptible to illness. For example, cancer, heart disease and stroke is the first three major diseases that cause death. However, scientists know little about the molecular mechanism. Through gene expression analysis, researchers developed a new way to calculate the age of individual biology, namely "transcriptome of age". Studies have shown that difference between transcription age and actual age is related to biological characteristics of aging including blood pressure, cholesterol levels, fasting plasma glucose and body mass index.

"This study reveals many genes that play a role in the aging process, not only helping to further understand the mechanism of aging, but also helping people to anticipate and treat age-related diseases." Dr Luke Pilling said.

The researchers found that many aging genes are related to the cell's energy supply (mitochondria function), metabolic process, stability and flexibility. Compared with other genesFeature Articles, aging genes do not have more CpG methylation sites related to aging. But enhancer and insulator region of these genes are rich of CpG methylation sites.

"Such a large-scale study provided a broad platform for future aging research. People can predict or improve the treatment of aging-related diseases on the basis of this study." Dr. Pilling added.


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