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Delaying the Ageing Process

A team of scientists from the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, have discovered how the ageing process could potentially be delayed. They found that the p38MAPK protein, known for its role in inflammation, also promotes ageing when it activates another protein p16, which has long been linked to ageing. In addition, they also found that by reducing the levels of p38MAPK, they were able to delay the ageing of multiple tissues. This finding provides an important insight into the molecular mechanisms behind the ageing process, which has up till now been poorly understood.

Studying genetically modified mice, the team noticed that several organs that had a reduced amount of p38MAPK protein, including the pancreas, exhibited a delayed degeneration as the mice grew older. These mice also displayed an improved growth and regeneration of pancreatic islet beta cells which are responsible for producing insulin. In addition, the team also found that the forced activation of p38MAPK stunted the growth of insulin-producing islet beta cells and caused insulin resistance in mice, which is the basis of Type 2 diabetes. These results demonstrated that by controlling p38MAPK levels, scientists could potentially treat age-related degenerative conditions dependent on the p38MAPK signalling pathways. This could also lead to the development of novel treatment approaches for Type 2 diabetes in the elderly.

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Last Updated On 18 October 2009

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