Image by Ernesto Eslava from Pixabay

January 23rd, 2023

From the David Sinclair Lab at Harvard we see first of its kind data regarding the ability to identify epigenetic marks in mice as the etiology or biomarker of aging. This is nothing short of an amazing discovery. Listen to Podcast #2 with the father of epigenetics Dr. Randy Jirtle to gain a foothold in this world and then read on.

From the article: "All living things experience an increase in entropy, manifested as a loss of genetic and epigenetic information. In yeast, epigenetic information is lost over time due to the relocalization of chromatin-modifying proteins to DNA breaks,

causing cells to lose their identity, a hallmark of yeast aging. Using a system called “ICE” (inducible changes to the epigenome), we find that the act of faithful DNA repair advances aging at physiological, cognitive, and molecular levels, including erosion of the epigenetic landscape, cellular exdifferentiation, senescence, and advancement of the DNA methylation clock, which can be reversed by OSK-mediated rejuvenation. These data are consistent with the information theory of aging, which states that a loss of epigenetic information is a reversible cause of aging." (Yang et. al. 2023)

What we are learning is that as we age our cells are responding to DNA damage by unfolding and exposing areas on the DNA in a repair process that allows the damage to be returned to normal. This occurs millions of times every minute. The unwinding process exposes areas of the DNA's epigenome that are capable of turning on and off genes that encode for proteins that we may or may not need. When we are young these repair mechanisms are very functional and we have less DNA damage in general meaning less epigenetic dysfunction and less aging biologically. With age these processes are more frequent and more dysfunctional because of more lifestyle decisions that are DNA damaging including dietary, stress, toxin and more. If you stack many changes to which genes are turned on and which are turned off in an inappropriate way, you age and have disease. His lab proved that these events are also reversible. Oh boy, the beginning of some fascinating new trials in humans.

Stay tuned for an upcoming podcast with Dr. Kara Fitzgerald as she is doing exactly that: reversing biological aging through lifestyle decisions. Here we go with a very exciting year of newsletters and podcasts!!!!

A second paper in BioRxIV notes that mice exposed to Yamanaka factors showed signs of an increased lifespan by 10% over a control group. (Macip et. a. 2023) The Yamanaka factors are a set of protein transcription factors that play a critical role in the production of induced pluripotent stem cells, often called iPSCs. These stem cells are the beginning cells of life as they have the ability to become any cell in the body. The Yamanaka factors were shown to epigenetically control how DNA is copied to make proteins.

Putting this all together and we are starting to see a world where human health could improve instead of always suffer with father time!

 

Dr. M

 

Yang Cell
Macip BioRxIV