Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging and the CECAD Research Group for Excellence in Aging at the University of Cologne discovered the metabolism of folate that would aid in greater longevity, and better health during aging.

Through research on the cell signaling pathways that regulate the lifespan of an organism, the researchers altered these pathways, obtaining greater longevity in the intervened organisms.

In the case of researchers from the University of Cologne, they studied the mechanisms and pathways of the intestinal worm, the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans. “We studied the metabolic products of several long-lived worm lines. Our analyzes revealed that, among other things, we observed clear changes in the metabolites and enzymes of the folate cycle in all the worm lines. Since folate metabolism plays an important role in human health, we wanted to further develop its role in longevity, “said Andrea Annibal, lead author of the study.

To understand the work of German scientists, it is necessary to explain what a folate is. These elements are vitamins necessary for the synthesis of amino acids and nucleotides, the building blocks of our proteins and DNA. “We reduced the activity of specific enzymes for folate metabolism in worms. Interestingly, the result was an increase in lifespan of up to 30 percent,” Annibal said. “We also saw that in long-lived mouse breeds, folate metabolism is similarly reduced. Therefore, regulation of folate metabolism may underlie not only the various longevity signaling pathways in worms, but also in mammals. ”

“We are very excited about these findings because they reveal the regulation of folate metabolism as a common shared mechanism that affects several longevity pathways and is conserved in evolution,” adds Adam Antebi, director of the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging. “Therefore, the precise manipulation of folate metabolism may provide a new possibility to vastly improve human health during aging.” In future experiments, the group aims to discover the mechanism by which folate metabolism affects longevity.

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