Discovery: Common Substances That Accelerate Aging

Published by Adrien - 29 days ago - Other Languages: FR, DE, ES, PT
Source: Nature Cell Biology

Researchers at Nagoya University in Japan have made a significant breakthrough in understanding premature aging. Published in Nature Cell Biology, their study unveils the role of aldehydes, metabolic products resulting from substances such as alcohol, pollution, and smoke, in speeding up the aging process.


Researchers have linked aldehydes, by-products of alcohol, pollution, and smoke, to premature aging and DNA damage, proposing potential strategies to mitigate aging effects and highlighting the impact of environmental factors on health.
Credit: Reiko Matsushita

Aldehydes do not just harm health; they also contribute to aging. This is what Yasuyoshi Oka, Yuka Nakazawa, Mayuko Shimada, and Tomoo Ogi have discovered. Their research shows that these substances are involved in DNA lesions that characterize phenomena of premature aging.

Individuals with premature aging disorders, such as AMeD syndrome, show insufficient activity of enzymes, particularly ALDH2, which degrade aldehydes. These enzymes are crucial for converting aldehydes into non-toxic substances, especially during alcohol consumption, whose metabolism produces aldehydes that the liver must remove.

Aldehydes react vigorously with DNA and proteins, forming cross-links between DNA and proteins (DPCs) that block essential enzymes for cell proliferation and maintenance, leading to cellular dysfunction and accelerated aging.

To delve deeper into these observations, the team utilized a method called DPC-seq to investigate the link between aldehyde accumulation and DNA damage in patients with premature aging diseases. Their research suggests that the TCR complex, VCP/p97, and the proteasome play a key role in eliminating formaldehyde-induced DPCs, especially in actively transcribed regions of DNA.

The implications of these findings are vast, not only for genetic diseases but also for aging in a healthy population. Identifying aldehydes as contributing factors to aging opens new avenues for research on the underlying mechanisms of premature aging diseases and for the development of potential treatments.
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