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IM33 may link ROS, gut microbiota, & sleep


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Research was done on Drosophila to take advantage of their shorter life span and so may not apply to mammals.

An immune molecule that regulates aging and a living organism's lifespan

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis recently identified an immune molecule that could play a key role in modulating the process of aging and the duration living organism's lifespan.

 They specifically tried to understand the potential role of the protein IM33 and its analog SLPI in mice, in controlling the aging of mice and other mammals.

When the team knocked down this gene in the immune cells of fruit flies, they found that this increased the level of reactive oxygen species and altered the composition of microbiota in their gut. This resulted in oxidative stress and in an imbalance in bacterial composition (i.e., dysbiosis), which in turn reduced their lifespan. The researchers found that knocking down this gene also caused sleep disturbances, which have also been associated with aging and a shorter lifespan.

"This is a proof-of-concept study demonstrating that an evolutionarily conserved immune molecule can serve as a messenger, conveying information between the brain and gut to regulate different levels of aging and control lifespan," Xu said. 

"We suggest that peptidoglycan signaling, a conserved immune pathway, in the neuron could be a potentially novel target to slow down aging," Xu added.

 testing the role of meningeal Slpi in mice will help determine whether this is a shared mechanism throughout evolution and provide additional supportive evidence for future translational studies.

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