ANTIOXIDANTS A KEY TO ’LONG LIFE’

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ANTIOXIDANTS A KEY TO ’LONG LIFE’

 user 2005-05-13 at 10:33:00 am Views: 67
  • #9636

    Antioxidants a key to ‘long life’

    Boosting the body’s levels of natural antioxidants could be the
    key to a long life, according to US scientists.

    Mice engineered to produce high levels of an antioxidant enzyme lived 20%
    longer and had less heart and other age-related diseases, they found.

    If the same is true in humans, people could live beyond 100 years.

    The University of Washington work in Science Express backs the idea that high
    reactive oxygen molecules, called free-radicals, cause ageing.

    Long life

    Free-radicals have been linked with heart disease, cancer and other
    age-related diseases.

    Dr Peter Rabinovitch and colleagues bred mice that over-expressed the enzyme
    catalase.





    By intervening in the underlying ageing process, we
    may be able to produce very significant increases in healthy lifespan


    Researcher Dr Peter Rabinovitch
    Catalase acts as an antioxidant by removing damaging hydrogen
    peroxide, which is a waste product of metabolism and is a source of
    free-radicals.

    Free radical damage can lead to more flaws in the cell’s chemical processes
    and more free radicals, making a vicious cycle.

    Dr Rabinovitch said: “This study is very supportive of the free-radical
    theory of ageing.

    Free radicals

    “It shows the significance of free radicals, and of reactive oxygen species
    in particular, in the ageing process.”

    Dr Rabinovitch said the discovery could help could pave the way for future
    development of drugs or other treatments that protected the body from free
    radicals, and possibly some age-related conditions.





    We are obviously a long way from downing catalase
    to gain eternal youth

    “People used to only focus on specific age-related diseases,
    because it was believed that the ageing process itself could not be affected.

    “What we’re realising now is that by intervening in the underlying ageing
    process, we may be able to produce very significant increases in health span, or
    healthy lifespan,” he said.

    Professor Pat Monaghan from the University of Glasgow, UK, said: “This is
    certainly a very interesting study.

    “Making the leap from what is going on in the cell to what happens to the
    animal is difficult and often controversial since there are so many intervening
    steps.

    “However, this study does seem to point to a direct link between mopping up
    free radicals at the cellular sites where they are generated and consequences
    for the lifespan of the whole animal.

    But she added: “We are obviously a long way from downing catalase to gain
    eternal youth, and we need to know much more about what the consequences of high
    catalase levels would be for other aspects of the animal’s life history.

    “You rarely get something for nothing.