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Aging – Can We Skip?

by Rinku Khumukcham
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By: Rojita Shandham
As time passes by, we won’t be able to escape from aging, eventually it leads to death. Death is inevitable. We have not heard of anyone who has escaped from aging. It is a natural process so no one can escape from it but we can delay it by doing regular exercise and eating a balanced diet. Our youths these days don’t care about their health. As our country is developing, most of us eat oiled foods instead of a balanced diet.
At the biological level, aging is the deterioration of cells over time. It is a progressive phenomenon, gradual loss of physiological integrity and leading to impaired function as well as complex processes. Single-cell zygote to full-fledged organism is a unidirectional progression of embryonic development. During embryonic stages, the cell undergoes differentiation and gives rise to different cell types that are made up of organisms. According to Medawar, aging is referred to as an ‘unsolved problem in biology.’ This process still remains a mystery for many research scholars. However many factors could fasten aging including diseases like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders and neurodegenerative disease.
TELOMERE ATTRITION; both in humans and mice, shortening of telomeres is noticed during normal aging. Shelterin, a six-protein complex and telomeric DNA are made of Telomere. Shelterin complex is made up of six family members that bind along the length of the telomere. It protects telomeres in many eukaryotic cells from DNA repair mechanisms, as well as to regulate telomerase activity. Enzyme called telomerase is responsible for replication of chromosomal DNA, the telomeric region. The activity of this enzyme telomerase is present in tumor cells, stem cells, germ cells, thymus, intestinal mucous cells, even in lymphocytes cells. Telomerase activity is mostly drained of in somatic cells and this leads to the gradually increased loss of telomere protective sequences from chromosome ends. However, the absence of shelterin causes telomere uncapping and thereby activates damage signaling pathways that may lead to non-homologous end joining, homology directed repair, end to end fusions, genomic instability, senescence or apoptosis. Deficiency of telomerase could develop many diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis, dyskeratosis congenital and aplastic anemia. By activation of telomerase aging can be reverted.
INFLAMMATION; aging is related with the term inflammageing means that a trashy pro-inflammatory phenotype that accompanies aging in mammals. Multiple causes may result from inflammation i.e. deposition of pro- inflammatory tissue damage, defective host cell, the liability of senescent cells induced to secrete pro- inflammatory cytokinesis. Increase in the production of IL-1B, tumor necrosis factor and interferons by the activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome (nucleotide- binding domain- like receptor protein 3 ) and other pro-inflammatory pathways. Dysfunctional inflammation plays a key role in Atherosclerosis. It increases the progression of atherosclerotic lesions to dangerous plaque and even causes death. NF-kâ(nuclear factor kappa â) is a transcription factor which regulates multiple aspects of innate and adaptive immune function as well as inflammation. Most recently, it was revealed that hypothalamic inflammation acts to cause a neurodegenerative disease, obesity and type- 2 diabetes mediated through inflammatory disruption on the hypothalamic neural stem cells and their neurogenesis. The GnRH treatment can partially reverse aging.
FREE RADICALS; we human beings have many free radicals. Free radicals are very reactive oxygen species which are produced by our body when exposed to certain physicochemical conditions. As our body ages we lose the ability to fight with free radicals. If we consume too much red meat, processed meat, cooking oil, etc. are likely to produce free radicals. It leads to accelerated signs of aging and risk for developing chronic disease. Too many free radicals in our body cause cellular damage and oxidative stress. We need to take food rich in antioxidants from time to time to neutralize free radicals and stop causing damage to our body. Consuming vitamin E and C and â-carotene is good for health. Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin mostly found in nuts, vegetables, grains, cereals and apricots. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin found in citrus fruits, capsicum, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, strawberries, etc. â-carotene are found in yolk, milk carrots, tomato, broccoli, grains, etc.
In 2012, Shiniya Yamanaka, MD, PhD, a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institutes – won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of how to transform ordinary adult skin cells that like embryonic cells.
Yamanaka factor has 4 transcription i.e. Oct3/4, Sox2, Klf4, c-Myc. They are a group of proteins which are highly expressed in embryonic stem cells.
(The writer did her Masters in Biochemistry from Manipur University and she will be off for her Phd in Canada soon)

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