Brain region that holds key to ageing discovered

Washington: As the search for the Fountain of Youth continues, researchers may have found the body`s "fountain of ageing"- the brain region known as the hypothalamus.

For the first time, scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University report that the hypothalamus of mice controls ageing throughout the body.

Their discovery of a specific age-related signaling pathway opens up new strategies for combating diseases of old age and extending lifespan.

"Scientists have long wondered whether ageing occurs independently in the body`s various tissues or if it could be actively regulated by an organ in the body," senior author Dongsheng Cai, M.D., Ph.D., professor of molecular pharmacology at Einstein said.

"It`s clear from our study that many aspects of ageing are controlled by the hypothalamus. What`s exciting is that it`s possible - at least in mice - to alter signaling within the hypothalamus to slow down the ageing process and increase longevity," Cai said.

The hypothalamus, an almond-sized structure located deep within the brain, is known to have fundamental roles in growth, development, reproduction, and metabolism.

Dr. Cai suspected that the hypothalamus might also play a key role in ageing through the influence it exerts throughout the body.

The study is published in the online edition of Nature.