11 May 2021

Genes of super - long - livers

Aging is a risk factor for a number of chronic diseases and conditions. Researchers from the University of Bologna, Italy, for the first time studied in detail the genomes of people older than 105 and 110 years, found the reason for their longevity and explained the ability to avoid age-related diseases.

The study included 81 Italian residents aged 105-110 and older than 110 years. The control group included 36 healthy people, whose average age was 68 years.

The researchers took blood samples from all participants and sequenced the genome to find differences in genes between the older and younger groups. They then compared the results with genetic data from a previously published study that analyzed the genomes of 333 people over the age of 100 and 358 people around the age of 60.

The authors identified five common traits that were more common in 105+ and 110+ age groups in two genes – COA1 and STK17A. When the researchers compared the results with previously published data, they found the same features in people over 100 years old. This genetic variation probably modulates the expression of three different genes.

The most frequently observed genetic changes were associated with increased activity of the STK17A gene in some tissues. This gene is involved in three processes important for cell health: coordinating the cell's response to DNA damage, stimulating damaged cells to programmed death, and controlling the level of reactive oxygen species in the cell. Violation of these processes is associated with the emergence and development of many diseases, including cancer.

The most frequent genetic changes were also associated with a decrease in the activity of the COA1 gene in some tissues. It is known that this gene is important for the interaction of the nucleus and mitochondria – factories for the production of energy in cells whose dysfunction is a key factor in aging.

In addition, the same region of the genome is associated with increased expression of the BLVRA gene in some tissues, which is important for cell health because of its role in eliminating dangerous reactive oxygen species.

Previous studies have proven that DNA repair is one of the mechanisms that can increase the life expectancy of various animal species. New data has shown that this is also true for humans.

The researchers also measured the number of natural mutations that people in each age group accumulated during their lifetime. It was found that in groups 105+ and 110+, participants had much fewer mutations in six of the seven genes tested. This may have contributed to protection against diseases such as diseases of the cardiovascular system.

Thus, the researchers showed both hereditary and naturally occurring genetic changes in the elderly. DNA repair mechanisms and a small number of accumulated mutations in certain genes are two central factors that protect people who have survived the 100-year milestone from age-related diseases.

Article by P.Garagnani et al. Whole-genome sequencing analysis of semi-supercentenarians is published in the journal Genetics and Genomics.

Aminat Adzhieva, portal "Eternal Youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru according to eLife: Do people aged 105 and over live longer because they have more efficient DNA repair?

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