A research study carried out by the researchers of the Georgia University have found a molecule produced during fasting or severe calorie restriction has anti-ageing effects on the vascular system. As people become older, they are very much susceptible to age-related diseases like Cancer, Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular diseases. The most critical part of ageing is the vascular ageing. As the people age, the capacity of the blood vessels to carry blood to various organs of the body decreases owing to vascular damaging.
Hence the study is mainly focussed on vascular ageing and the ways to prevent vascular ageing. Researchers identified a key molecule called B-hydroxybutyrate that is produced during calorie restriction conditions. It is a ketone body or water-soluble molecule produced by the liver from fatty acids during low food intake, starvation, carbohydrate restriction diet or prolonged intense exercise. This molecule can delay vascular ageing through endothelial cells lining the interior surface of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels. The researchers found that the molecule promotes cell division and thereby reduce senescence or cell ageing. β-hydroxybutyrate is suppressed during obesity or excess intake of food and accelerate ageing.
Also, the team found that β-hydroxybutyrate binds to a certain RNA binding protein that increases the activity of the Oct-4 (octamer-binding transcription factor) a stem-cell factor) endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscles in mice. Oct-4 increases the key factor associated with DNA damage-induced senescence and keeps blood vessels young. The research team is now working to develop a drug that mimics the effect of β-hydroxybutyrate. Since it is not practically feasible for fasting the discovery of the drug would aid in controlling senescence thereby making the lives enjoyable. If the vascular system is younger, the risk of age-related diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and Alzheimer’s can be prevented.
The Research study is published in the Journal Molecular cell.