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Fundamental research, Health, Scientific progress

31 - 08 - 2017

Should we tend to stem cells in order to stop the ageing process?

Amongst mammals, the regenerative capacity of adult stem cells decrease with time, which leads to organs’ ageing process. The mechanisms at stake are still not well understood.

 

 

The European program StemCellGerontoGenes is trying to discover what genes play a role in adult stem cells’ decline in capacity. To this end, researchers have been using screening technology, as well as the activation and inhibition of genes on cell models and animals.

 

They have thus discovered that the PER2 gene was active in humans’ and animals’ ageing stem cells, and that amongst elderly mice, the gene’s inactivation improved their response to bacterial infections.

 

 
Factually, caloric restriction reduces the activity of stem cells and slows down the ageing process amongst invertebrates (flies, worms). It also improves mice and primates’ health. But researchers have discovered that it reduces mice’s resistance to bacterial infection.

 

 
Thus it appears that the mechanisms that tie stem cells, health and ageing together are complex and necessitate further research before therapeutic strategies in the cure for ageing can be obtained.