December 12, 2002
Gene Knock-Out Increases Mouse Life Expectancy

By producing mice that have only one copy of the gene that codes for insulin-like growth factor type 1 (IGF-1) researchers produced mice that lived on average 26% longer.

When the researchers looked at the effects of deleting one copy of the gene in male and female mice, they found that the impact was different for the sexes. Males with one copy of the IGF-1 receptor lived 16% longer than normal male mice, while their female counterparts lived 33% longer than normal females.

The same effect might turn out to be achieveable either by blocking the production of IGF-1 or by creating a drug that bocks the IGF-1 receptor or by creating a drug that suppresses the production of IGF-1. But what is important here is that it demonstrates how the ability to genetically engineer mice allows scientists to test hypotheses and theories about the processes that cause aging and to test intervention strategies to slow it down or reverse it. The sequencing of the mouse genome provides scientists with the locations of many more genes to manipulate to conduct these types of studies.

Update: The researchers were building on work done in invertebrates that suggested a link between IGF-1 levels and longevity.

"These results show that a general decrease in IGF-1 receptor levels can increase lifespan in a mammalian species. Thus, the genetic link between insulin-like signaling and longevity, originally discovered in non-vertebrates, also seems to exist in higher vertebrates", conclude the authors.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2002 December 12 06:23 PM  Aging Reversal

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