Cellular aging halted by hydrogen sulfide gas
Published Tuesday 7 August 2018
By Tim Newman
Fact checked by Jasmin Collier
A new study inches us a little closer to understanding the aging process, how it works on a cellular level, and how it might one day be slowed down or even stopped.
Since the dawn of time, humans have wanted to live longer lives. As medical science has improved, humans have indeed extended their average lifespan.
Much of this increased longevity is due to reduced levels of infant mortality, better sanitation and public health, vast improvements in the treatment of many diseases, and vaccination.
Aside from the treatment and prevention of disease, many researchers are still picking away at the mechanisms beneath the aging process itself.
Over time, cells slowly become less active and eventually stop dividing. These are known as senescent cells. They are partly to blame for our slow but inevitable decline as we grow older.
Recently, scientists from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom discovered a way to reverse an important aspect of aging in human cells.
Mitochondria and splicing factors
The researchers were particularly interested in the activity of mitochondria, or the organelles that are famously responsible for generating a cell’s power. Their aim was to jump-start activity in the aging mitochondria. To do this, the scientists used samples of cells that line the inside of blood vessels, called endothelial cells.
They targeted splicing factors within the mitochondria. Our genes code for more than one protein, and splicing factors help decide which product a particular gene will make at any given time.