Jaskelioff M., Muller F.L., Paik J.H., Thomas E., Jiang S., Adams A.C., Sahin E., Kost-Alimova M., Protopopov A., Cadiñanos J., Horner J.W., Maratos-Flier E., Depinho R.A. Telomerase reactivation reverses tissue degeneration in aged telomerase-deficient mice. Nature. 2011;469(7328):102-106.
According to a study published in the January 2011 issue of Nature journal, premature aging can be reversed by reactivating telomerase, the enzyme that lengthens telomeres.
The study, led by scientist Ronald DePinho, of the Dana-Farber Cancer
Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, offers the
possibility that normal human aging could be slowed by activating the
telomerase enzyme in cells where it has stopped working.
Researchers studied mice that were artificially aged by switching off the telomerase enzyme. The mice experienced:
However, when the telomerase enzyme was switched back on, the mice became younger. Researchers saw a dramatic reversal in the signs and symptoms of aging with telomerase activation. Benefits included:
The most important lesson learned from this study is that aged tissues, even
ones in an advanced state of degeneration, retain a remarkable capacity to
renew themselves and telomerase, when activated, can reverse certain aspects
associated with aging.
“If you look at all those data together, you walk away with the idea that the loss of telomerase could be a very important instigator of the aging process,” according to Dr. DePinho.