Chemical Biology of Ageing
Organisms age through a progressive and irreversible decline in the functional capacity of their tissues and organs. However, the exact mechanisms by which this occurs varies from species to species and tissue to tissue. SPARC award holders are working to understand how these mechanisms operate and designing treatments to deal with them. The projects have strong links with other SPARC work on vision, activity, movement and ageing mechanisms.
Evaluating the role of p38 MAP kinase in accelerated ageing
Because the science of normal human ageing is complex and very long term, some scientists study particular subsets of the population which exhibit certain special characteristics. Werner’s Syndrome is a very dramatic premature ageing syndrome that is often used as a model system for human ageing. The in vitro treatment of certain types of Werner’s Syndrome tissue cells with a particular drug has shown that accelerated ageing can be prevented. However the underlying mechanisms are unclear. The study will determine the most plausible explanation and delineate a path to the next step towards developing possible treatments for those who suffer from the syndrome. It will also offer insights into the development of inhibitors of those enzymes which trigger accelerated ageing in normal individuals as a result of stress, infection or chronic wounds.
Chemical analysis of ageing tissue
Dr Elizabeth Ostler, Brighton University
18 months, £58,820
General Poster: Ageing Flies, Scientific Poster
Executive Summary: Can the Fruit Fly Help us to Understand how we Age
Keywords: Glycation, Analysis, Fruitflies, Ageing
Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGEs) are the result of ubiquitous unwanted reactions between reducing sugars and amino acids that form adducts on proteins. These adducts accumulate with age, at an increased rate in diabetic patients, with particular implications for long lived structures such as the eye lens because they can interfere with the biological functions of proteins. Levels of AGEs correlate with an increased rate of morbidity, probably by causing tissue dysfunction. The work will provide a better molecular understanding of ageing with a view to finding out whether AGEs are really a cause or just a result of ageing processes.
Chemical tool for ageing research
Much evidence suggests that normal human cells are capable of only a finite number of divisions after which a senescent state is triggered and thus there is a strong link between senescence and tissue degeneration – cell ageing. A priority has to be placed on understanding the underlying mechanisms, which presently are not clear, and then developing ways of intervening in these processes so as to benefit older people. This study will develop new chemical tools to help identify some of the mechanisms of human ageing, with the ultimate aim of understanding the biochemical basis of this complex process.