Nearly a century ago, researchers discovered that cutting calorie intake was actually able to extend lifespan in various animal species. Although numerous studies have been conducted since to find out exactly why reducing calories can extend lifespan, scientists have been unable to pinpoint the answer. Now, a group of investigators at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM) have uncovered an explanation to the longevity conundrum, something they call “age-relateddrift.”
The senior investigator, Jean-Pierre Issa, MD, Director of the Fels Institute for Cancer Research at LKSOM, explained, “Our study shows that epigenetic drift, which is characterized by gains and losses in DNA methylation in the genome over time, occurs more rapidly in mice than in monkeys and more rapidly in monkeys than in humans.”
These findings may explain why certain animals live for shorter or longer periods of time. For instance, on average, mice live for two to three years, whereas rhesus monkeys live for 25 years and humans live to around 70-80 years.
DNA methylation is the epigenetic mechanism characterized by suppressing gene expression as a result of adding methyl groups onto DNA. This mark serves as a molecular bookmark in order to control mammalian genes, indicating when they should be used.
“Methylation patterns drift steadily throughout life, with methylation increasing in some areas of the genome, and decreasing in others,” said Dr. Issa. These epigenetic changes have previously been linked to age, but their connection to lifespan was uncertain.
The team first examined DNA methylation patterns in blood from three different species – mouse, human, and monkey. The samples were from animals at different ages – the mice ranged from a couple months to nearly three years old, the monkeys ranged from under one year to 30 years old, and the humans ranged from 0 to 86 years old. The researchers used cord blood to measure epigenetic patterns at age zero.
Variations in DNA methylation related to age were analyzed by deep sequencing technology. The results revealed unique patterns, specifically showing that there were increases in methylation in older individuals at certain sites compared to unmethylated sites in young individuals at the same genomic sites, and vice versa.
“Epigenetic drift is conserved across species and the rate of drift correlates with lifespan when comparing mice, rhesus monkeys, and humans,” reported the researchers.
In genomic areas that had increased methylation as the animals got older, there were dramatic losses in gene expression. Conversely, certain genes with reduced methylation showed increases in gene expression. Further analysis of a subset of genes impacted by age-related adjustments in methylation levels demonstrated an inverse relationship between longevity and methylation drift.
Essentially, the more epigenetic change there was, and the faster it occurred, the shorter the animals’ lifespan. “We propose that epigenetic drift is a determinant of lifespan in mammals,” they said.
They were also curious about whether they could increase lifespan by altering epigenetic drift. Calorie restriction has been known to be one of the most powerful factors for increasing lifespan in animals. This occurs by reducing calories while also maintaining a healthy intake of essential nutrients. In our article 3 Pioneering Epigenetic Labs: Exploring the People and Discoveries that Transcend the Lab Walls, Dr. Tollefsbol shared with us his findings on glucose restriction and longevity.
In young mice, researchers cut calorie intake by 40 percent. For middle-aged monkeys, they cut calorie intake by 30 percent. Significant decreases in epigenetic drift were observed in both species. Age-related changes in DNA methylation in older, calorie-restricted animals were comparable to those of young animals.
“The impacts of calorie restriction on lifespan have been known for decades, but thanks to modern quantitative techniques, we are able to show for the first time a striking slowing down of epigenetic drift as lifespan increases,” Dr Issa said.
Fully understanding DNA methylation drift and how it determines lifespan in mammals will be an interesting development to follow. There is still much more that has yet to be answered now that the researchers proposed that slowing epigenetic drift might be used to extend life. The complexity of this mechanism has vast implications in health research, especially because the risk of age-related diseases such as cancer is heightened when there is a greater amount of epigenetic drift.
The group of researchers hopes to pinpoint more factors that influence the changes in methylation over time. If these factors could be changed to slow drift, we might be able to help prevent age-related diseases and extend the human lifespan.
Source: Maegawa, S. et al. (2017). Caloric restriction delays age-related methylation drift. Nature Communications, 8(1).
Reference: Temple Health. Temple Researchers Uncover Mechanism Behind Calorie Restriction and Lengthened Lifespan. Temple Health News & Announcements. 14 Sep 2017. Web.
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Dr Eddy Bettermann MD focus on Biological Medicine (Biologische Medizin), Darkfield Microscopy (Dunkelfeld Mikroskopie), Orthomolecular Medicine (Orthomolekulare Medizin), Ayurvedic Medicine (Ayurveda), Psychosomatic Medicine (Psychosomatische Medizin), raw food (Rohkost), fasting (Fasten): Our primary integrative medicine goal is the maintenance of your health and wellness, and we are committed to safe and effective healthcare. Our specialties include online integrative medicine education by alternative doctor: food and allergy management through the use of Integrative medical therapy, Environmental Medicine, General Family Medicine, Ayurveda, Panchakarma, Chronic Fatigue, ADHD, autism, Fibromyalgia, Yeast/Fungus related diseases – Candidacies, mercury dental replacement and detoxification, Natural Thyroid Replacement, Weight loss, Lyme Disease, Irritable Bowel Disease, Attention Deficit Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, Addiction related programs, Intestinal Dysbiosis, as well as trigger point therapy using Neural Therapy. Dr. Eddy Bettermann MD, physician from Germany, consultant and teacher in biological medicine, especially dark field microscopy known as Live Blood Analysis in Thailand, Malaysia, Hon Kong, Singapore and the Philippines. But he lecture also in the USA, Canada and the U.A.E. He speaks english and german. https://dreddymd.com/2017/01/17/the-interactive-live-blood-cd-and-the-certified-training-live-blood-analysis-online-course/ https://dreddymd.com/courses/ https://dreddymd.com/2017/01/17/live-blood-microscopy-analysis-darkfield-course/ “Let thy Food be thy Medicine and thy Medicine be thy Food.” — Hippocrates Physician Member of the Medical Board at AOX Singapore, Medical Doctor at Nurse Mobile Clinic and Physician at DrEddy Clinic Our Mission: The mission of the Integrative Medicine is to search for the most effective treatments for patients by combining both conventional and alternative approaches that address all aspects of health and wellness – biological, psychological, social and spiritual. Biological Medicine is a big part of my work and so is Dark field Microscopy, what I use in my daily practice and what I teach more then 15 years in Asia and around the world: Live Blood Analysis in dark field based on Haematology. We utilize Live blood analysis since 2004, conventional as well as specialty laboratories for a thorough diagnostic work up of the disease in question. Our integrative medicine treatment regimens are especially unique and are tailored specifically to the individual needs of each patient. Our Mission: don’t harm, prevent, use food as medicine We are a reliable partner for integrative medicine in Medical Spa & Clinic Development and integrative medicine Education Training for alternative doctors – we bring different holistic approaches, like Integrative Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda Medicine together. On your request we offer our service in your place as well. Heavy metal poisoning Heavy metal poisoning is much more common than most people realize, and if you’re thinking that it doesn’t apply to you because you haven’t been exposed to any, think again. If you’ve eaten fish regularly, had amalgam fillings, received vaccinations, drank contaminated water, or done industrial or agricultural work or pharmaceutical manufacturing, there’s a good chance that you have a fair amount of toxic metals in your system.. We are here to help and to educate! Wishing your health and happiness Dr Eddy Bettermann MD Protect you and your family from harmful radiation https://bit.ly/synergyscience-dreddymd More information about 5G and EMF: https://dreddymd.com/?s=5G+and+EMF View all posts by dreddymd