Scientists have discovered that by using a male hormone can prevent aging cells. This potentially offers a new way for the treatment of numerous conditions that result in degradation of the cells.
Researchers from Brazil and the United States using the steroid “danazol” – synthetic male hormone, failed to stimulate the production of an enzyme called telomerase, which is already known that keeps cells young by preventing the shortening of their DNA. This allows by stopping the degeneration of telomeres – or “caps” are located at the ends of chromosomes (pictured above shown in red).
“Every time a cell divides, telomeres shorten. With time, they are no longer in a state to replicate and die or become old (biological aging). However, telomerase can maintain the length of telomeres intact after the division of the cell, “- explains Rodrigo Calado, one of the researchers from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Previous studies have found that aging cells can be stopped by increasing telomerase, which is a natural product of cells that are constantly dividing – such as stem cells that form blood cells. Its deficiency can cause damage to internal organs and increase the risk of cancer.
For the research, 27 participants who suffered from aplastic anemia (premature aging of cells from the bone marrow), caused by a mutation of the gene telomerase their danazol was prescribed for a period of two years. During this period people usually lose about 100 to 200 base pairs of telomere, but people for whom there is a lack of telomerase can lose 200 to 600 base pairs. Under the action of the new treatment not only stopped the shortening of telomeres in the cells of participants, but increased by an average of 386 base pairs. In addition, there was also an increase in hemoglobin, meaning that participants were no longer dependent on blood transfusions.
This research proves that by taking this hormone may necessary to generate telomerase, which among living people confirming the results previously obtained in the laboratory.
Based on these results could develop new treatments for conditions such as aplastic anemia and pulmonary fibrosis, the researchers say. However, the development of new treatments should be done with caution, given that these hormones can have significant side effects including mood swings, fatigue and problems with the digestive system.
However, knowing how you can fight with one of the factors behind aging is of great significance for future research.
Perhaps we have not yet found a way to live forever, but this discovery will help many of us to live longer, healthier lives.
Research findings are published in the “New England Journal of Medicine“.
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