Washington: A team of scientists from Texas have made important discoveries that bring longer life spans much closer to reality.
The research describes how scientists "activated" life extension in the worm, C. elegans, and in the process discovered a new metabolic state correlating with long life.
"C. elegans has provided a useful animal model for human biology because of their relative simplicity and our understanding of the genes that control their metabolism,” said Gerald Weissmann, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal.
“Helping these worms to live longer is a proof of concept; indeed much of what we now know about human aging was first worked out in these worms," he added.
Scientists compared one class of long-lived C. elegans, called the Mit mutants, with non-mutant wild type C. elegans. Their comparison showed significant metabolism changes, suggesting that their cellular engines had been reconfigured to run on new fuels and to make new waste products, leading to increased lifespans.
Creating a new method for collecting cellular waste and studied it to identify the specific chemical reactions, they found that that the worms achieved long life through changes in how their cells extracted energy (metabolic state).
"This research on worms shows that the secret to a long life comes from how we extract energy from our food," said Weissman.
"With any luck, we``ll be able to change human life in the same direction: onward and upward!"
The study appears in FASEB journal.