Monday, November 06, 2006

More than one way to (not) age a mouse

Since we've been on the topic of anti-aging recently.... a recent paper in Science (subscription required) and summarized at Nature News shows that lowering the core body temperature of mice can extend lifespan. Is this good news for us Canucks? Caloric restriction (CR), as discussed before, thus far has been one method shown to reliably extend lifespan across species. One side-effect of CR is a reduced body-temperature. The contribution of low body temperature to lifespan extension has been difficult to determine because mice and other mammals maintain body temperature regardless of the surrounding climate. To get around this, the group genetically engineered mice to overexpress UCP2 - a protein that uncouples electron transport from ATP synthesis to generate heat - in mouse hypothalamus cells. Because this region of the brain acts as a thermostat, the mice were tricked into thinking they were warmer and as a result lowered their core body temperature by 0.3 - 0.5 degrees Celsius. The result? An increase in median lifespan of 10-20%, independent of diet. So you see, we don't need to starve ourselves to live longer -- plenty of red wine or perpetual cold should do it. And I'll bet it's SirT1 dependent too.


3 comments:

Anonymous Coward said...

On the other hand jet lag makes them die early...

kamel said...

Poor mice, they love to travel (as discussed earlier) but it kills them. I guess the lesson is that if you're going to be a jet-setter, drinking wine on the ski slopes for better health, make sure it's all in your time zone.

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