From the University of Washington in St. Louis:
New research has identified a novel approach to staving off the detrimental effects of aging, according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
The study suggests that a protein that is abundant in the blood of young mice plays a vital role in keeping mice healthy. With age, levels of this protein decline in mice and people, while health problems such as insulin resistance, weight gain, cognitive decline and vision loss increase. Supplementing older mice with the protein obtained from younger mice appears to slow this decline in health and extend the life spans of older mice by about 16%.
The study is published June 13 in the journal Cell Metabolism.
The circulating protein is an enzyme called eNAMPT, which is known to orchestrate a key step in the process cells use to make energy. With age, the body's cells become less and less efficient at producing this fuel – called NAD – which is required to keep the body healthy. Washington University researchers have shown that supplementing eNAMPT in older mice with that of younger mice appears to be one route to boosting NAD fuel production and keeping aging at bay.