Longevity breakthrough as scientists discover how to reverse aging in skeletal muscle

Findings show it’s possible to reverse the aging process by overexpressing the NANOG protein
Stephen Vicinanza
man with exposed muscle
Reversing aging through overexpression of the NANOG protein

Muscle man 

University of Buffalo scientists have undertaken a study that shows a process to reverse aging in muscle cells. Aging in muscle cells is a function of a cell itself, not being able to divide and repair itself. The process is known as cellular senescence, and it happens during aging. This study found that by the overexpression of a particular protein called NANOG, the cell does not have be reset to a different state to reverse aging.

The previous attempts to reverse aging in cells have been focused on returning the cell to a more stem-cell like state. This literally resets the cell to it formation process. This new technique takes an entirely different path.

Cellular senescence happens during aging, when cells reach a point when they are no longer able to repair themselves and can’t divide. The genetic material within the cell becomes unstable causing the cell to degenerate and become diseased. As a consequence, our entire body ceases to regenerate cells over time. This study shows how this is somewhat misleading and not as bad as it sounds.

In the embryonic precursor to muscle cells, senescent human myoblasts, a protein known as NANOG is found. By overexpressing, or exciting the NANOG protein, scientists were able to reverse age related degradation of the cell and increase their own DNA repair mechanisms.

In more interesting it was shown when NANOG was overexpressed in prematurely aging mice, the number of muscle stem-cells increased, further reenforcing the results of the lab study on human myoblasts, that NANOG might have rejuvenating properties. That could help in reversing the aging process.

“Ultimately the work could help lead to new treatments or therapies that help reverse cellular senescence, and aid many people suffering from age-related disorders.” Said the study’s corresponding author Professor Stelios T. Andreadis in a statement.

The study had gone on to say, that Skeletal muscle is a highly regenerative organ that comprises about 45% of the total body mass and enable skeletal movements as well as regulate metabolism.

The act of regeneration, repair, or new growth in the body, is done in the muscle tissue by the proliferation of myofibers. Myogenic progenitors, or the basic starters of muscle growth, when activated, proliferate, differentiate and contribute to the regenerative growth of damaged myofibers.

The decline in myogenic progenitors, or those little starter forces in the myofibers, decrease in number and regenerative capacity over time. The study at the University of Buffalo has shown how a protein in myogenic progenitors, NANOG, is overexpressed, or excited, the process increases the number and regenerative properties of the myogenic progenitors. A process of rejuvenation of the entire process.

One of the challenges is that the NANOG did not proliferate indefinitely, when the cumulative cell numbers plateaued after about 20 or 25 days of overexpression. This drawback is not the end of the research to find a way to reverse aging, but instead a reason to continue on in discovery of further ways to defeat the aging process.