Hypoxic Response Is One Key To Age Related Disease And Longevity

Nematode Worm: University of UtahNematode Worm: University of Utah The hypoxic response is a survival response that takes place biochemically in a cell in reaction to dietary restriction which lowers the availability of oxygen to the cell. This response has been shown to increase the life span and resistance to certain diseases in worms, flies and mice.  But research conducted at the University of Washington (UW), and published in the April 16, 2009 issue of Science, uncovered a new pathway by which the hypoxic response can occur... the regulation of a protein called proteasome.

The UW researchers studying the hypoxic response in the nematode worm discovered that the protein HIF, which activates the hypoxic response, is regulated by VHL-1 which, in the presence of oxygen, sends a message to the proteasome in the cell to turn off the hypoxic response.   After breeding a strain of worms that could not produce the VHL-1 protein, they discovered that those worms were able to sustain a hypoxic response in normal oxygen conditions, and that this strain lived longer.

Researchers also found that animals lacking VHL-1 were resistant to the toxic proteins known to cause Huntington's and Alzheimer's diseases and that their cells showed less of an age-related pigment called lipofuscan. 

This information could prove to be very helpful in developing a treatment or even preventative for neurodegenerative and other diseases associated with aging.  And we might not have to starve ourselves to live longer, healthier lives.



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