Mother’s genes can contribute to aging process

ISLAMABAD: The new research pinpointed the maternally-inherited genes along with the accumulation of changes during our lifetime are associated with aging.

Researchers at Karolinska Institute and the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging have shown that the aging process is influenced not only by the accumulation of the cell’s power plant’s DNA damage during a person’s lifetime, but also by the inherited DNA from their mothers, Press tv reported.

The mouse model study reveals that normal and damaged DNA is passed down between generations, according to the research.

The cell’s power plant, known as the `mitochondrion’, is a structure located in the cell and generates most of the cell’s supply of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is used as a source of chemical energy.

“The mitochondria contains their own DNA, which changes more than the DNA in the nucleus, and this has a significant impact on the aging process,” clarified the study leader Nils-Goran Larsson, Ph.D., professor at the Karolinska Institute and principal investigator at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging, alongside Lars Olson, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute.

“Many mutations in the mitochondria gradually disable the cell’s energy production,” Larsson noted.

If we inherit our mother’s mitochondrial DNA with mutations, we experience aging process more quickly, he explained.

“The study also shows that low levels of mutated mitochondrial DNA can have developmental effects and cause deformities of the brain,” said lead author Jaime Ross, Ph.D., at the Karolinska Institute.

The study researchers suggest that the recent achievements can shed more light on the aging process and the significance of reduction in the number of mutations.

“There are various dietary manipulations and drugs that can up-regulate mitochondrial function and/or reduce mitochondrial toxicity.

An example would be antioxidants,” said co-author of the study Barry Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D., a visiting professor at the Karolinska Institute.