Scientists at Newcastle University have made another interesting discovery in the human body, which now improve their understanding of the aging process. In a study published in the journal Nature Communications, a team of scientists led by Dr. Joao Passos (Joao Passos), demonstrated that stress damage the telomeres, the end portions of our chromosomes, can be an important indicator of aging in the body.
The cells in the body continuously divide, thus replacing the ones that are worn or damaged. In this dividing process, a copy of our genetic material into the cells pass the next generation. The genetic information inside cells arranged in twisted chains of DNA called chromosomes, the end of which is covered with a protective cap - telomere. Earlier research has shown that telomeres get shorter each time a cell divides. This shortening is associated with aging as the cells lose their ability to divide, moving critical minimum telomere length.
While previous studies of telomeres, as one of the factors of aging have focused mainly on its length, a new study shows that there is another important component that affects the end portion of this chromosome.
Dr. Joao Passos noted: "As soon as we age, telomeres do get shorter and the reduction of premature telomere increases the risk of disease and death. Nevertheless, our data show that the telomeres in organisms of both humans and mice, especially sensitive to DNA damage, and that damage to even a fairly long telomeres generated by stress, incorrigibly and only increases with age. "
During aging DNA damage - a molecule containing genetic information which is necessary for the development and functioning of all living organisms, resulting in cell death. However, lesions that mostly caused by free radicals, can be corrected by reducing properties of the cells.
However, the opening made by the University of Newcastle shows that the ends of chromosomes are particularly susceptible to stress and damage can not be repaired or "repaired". The damaged area of telomeres can not be recovered, and it explains why the cells lose their ability to regenerate as they age.
"This discovery improves our understanding of how telomeres affect the aging of cells. We now know that telomeres are unusual way to respond to injuries, and that the cause of cell aging is not only the length of the ends of chromosomes," - said Dr. Passos. "Future research will focus on finding properties that make them such specific regions of the genome, in order to develop therapies aimed at improving recovery telomeres."