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Fountain Of Youth Discovered In Mouse Experiment?
By Staff
May 5, 2005, 21:31

Scientists have discovered a way to significantly extend the lifespan of mice and reduce the aging process in a method that could be exploited to extend the lifespan of humans.

Researchers from the University of Washington used genetically engineered mice that produce a human antioxidant enzyme that limits tissue damage from very reactive chemicals, called "free radicals."

The researchers designed the mice to produce human catalase, an enzyme that breaks down hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is a waste product of metabolism and it can be a the precursor of free radicals that can damage the cell.

The team found mice that produced more catalase in specialized parts of their cells (mitochondria) lived about 20 percent longer than mice with more catalase levels in the nucleus and cytoplasm.

The findings suggests increased catalase production needs to be targeted precisely for maximum effect.

The team also found that mitochondrion-targeted catalase mice also had healthier heart muscle tissue. The scientists say this factor protected the mice from age-related heart problems.

"This study is very supportive of the free-radical theory of aging. It shows the significance of free radicals, and of reactive oxygen species in particular, in the aging process," said lead researcher, Dr. Peter Rabinovitch.

Rabinovitch indicated the findings could pave the way for the development of drugs or other treatments that protect the human body from free radicals and possibly some age-related conditions.

They study appears in the May 5, online edition of the journal Science.
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