By manipulating a single gene, scientists at the National Institutes of Health said they increased the average life span of mice by about 20%,
NIH intramural study also shows that individual organs are affected differently
By lowering the expression of a single gene, researchers at the National Institutes of Health have extended the average lifespan of a group of mice by about 20 percent — the equivalent of raising the average humanlifespan by 16 years, from 79 to 95.
The research team targeted a gene called mTOR, which is involved in metabolism and energy balance, and may be connected with the increased lifespan associated with caloric restriction.
A detailed study of these mice revealed that gene-influenced lifespan extension did not affect every tissue and organ the sameway. For example, the mice retained better memory and balance as they aged, but their bones deteriorated more quickly than normal.
This study appears in the Aug. 29 edition of Cell Reports.
“While the high extension in lifespan is noteworthy, this study reinforces an important facet of aging; it is not uniform,” said lead researcher Toren Finkel, M.D., Ph.D., at NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). “Rather, similar to circadian rhythms, an animal might have several organ-specific aging clocks that generally work together to govern the aging of the whole organism.”