In experiments on worms, scientists have discovered that individuals that survived the oxidative stress at an early age, become more hardy and live longer.
Oxidative stress — the process of cell damage due to oxidation is the main cause of aging of organisms. It can also occur with excessive exercise or fasting. In humans, oxidative stress is a cause or an important component of many serious diseases, such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, infertility, chronic fatigue syndrome.
Oxidative stress occurs when cells produce too many oxidants and free radicals, causing oxidize such important components of the cell as lipids and DNA.
American scientists from the University of Michigan, exploring the round worm Caenorhabditis elegans, found that worms that in the beginning of my life produces more oxidants, lived longer than worms that produce less active forms of oxygen.
Traditionally, two major factors determining life expectancy — genetics, that is a good heredity, and environmental conditions. A study of Michigan scientists says that there are apparently other factors that affect longevity.
The worms C. elegans used as a model for the study of aging, first, because they are very short-lived, and secondly, because every mother is a hermaphrodite produce hundreds of genetically identical offspring.
Despite the complete genetic identity, the researchers found that the lifespan of worms, contained in the same conditions, differed substantially.
“If life expectancy is determined solely by genes and environment, we would have observed that genetically identical worms grown in one Petri dish, were killed about the same time, but that’s not what happens. Some worms live only three days, while others are still happily moving after 20 days, is given in the University press release quotes one of the study’s authors Ursula Jakob (Jakob Ursula). — Then the question arises that in addition to genetics and the environment causes such a big difference in a lifetime?”The authors found that animals with different life expectancy significantly differed in the number of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which they made early in life. And, surprisingly, instead of dying early, the worms, which produce more ROS, lived longer.
To confirm their observations, the researchers subjected the entire population of worms the effects of the AFC, and the average life expectancy of the entire population has increased.
Although researchers still do not know what causes oxidative stress in worms, they were able to determine the result of any processes increased life expectancy. Increased ROS production in young animals caused changes in histones — a large class of proteins involved in the packaging of DNA strands and the process of recovery of injuries.
It is known that the modifier of histones that are sensitive to oxidative stress, is present in mammalian cells. And the result has already been tested on mice. It is possible that the early oxidative stress useful in the cells of any organisms, including humans. This understanding will help scientists to develop strategies for intervention at the early stages of development of organisms, contributing to the extension of life in old age.