‘Longevity Gene’ That Extends Lifespan Passed on to


Hyaluronic Acid Activation Gene in Naked Mole Rats Successfully Transferred to Mice Results in Longevity, Resistance to Skin Cancer

(Photo : John Brighenti / Wikimedia Commons)
The gene that switches hyaluronic acid in naked mole rats was transferred to mice. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The gene that triggers hyaluronic acid was effectively extracted from naked mole rats and successfully transferred to mice, resulting in increased longevity and resistance to skin cancer.

Genes for Longevity

In a ground-breaking study, scientists at the University of Rochester have demonstrated how mice may be given longevity genes from the longest-living rodent species to lengthen their lives and improve their general health.

Vera Gorbunova, a study co-author and professor at the Doris Johns Cherry, said their findings demonstrate the viability of exploiting unique longevity mechanisms that have developed in long-lived mammalian species to increase the lifespan of other animals.

Naked Mole Rats and the Longevity Gene

The extremely lengthy lifespans of naked mole rats-nearly ten times longer than those of other rodents of comparable size-and their resilience to age-related ailments make them a favorite when it comes to the said topics.

Their remarkable capabilities have fascinated scientists, and in 2020 the same team found a gene that may be related to at least one of the mechanisms causing this animal’s exceptional longevity.

High molecular weight hyaluronic acid, or HMW-HA, a substance that has been proven to improve cellular tolerance to stress and inflammation, is produced by this gene.

Compared to people or mice, naked mole rats have around ten times more of these stress-resistant chemicals in their systems. This is due to the hyaluronan synthase 2 gene’s stronger expression or being “switched on” in naked mole rats as opposed to other animals.

Activating Hyaluronic Acid

Researchers have now discovered that the super-switched-on form of the hyaluronan synthase 2 gene may be transmitted from the naked mole rat to mice, passing along its longevity-enhancing traits. In a recent study, mice that carried the gene extracted from naked mole rats showed improved overall health, had higher immunity to skin cancer, and stayed alive 4.4% longer than mice that did not.

Although the precise cause of HMW-HA’s beneficial effects on health and longevity is yet unknown, experts believe they may be related to the molecule’s ability to directly control the immune system.

Only in mice have the effects of the gene been observed so far. However, these discoveries still present intriguing opportunities for the study of anti-aging and the effort to increase human lifespans.

The first, but not the final, example of how longevity adaptations from a species with a long lifespan can be adopted to promote human longevity and health, according to co-author Andrei Seluanov, is what he and his colleagues are hoping to show with their research.

Also Read: Protein Intake in Moderation Promotes Longevity, Anti-Aging Research Finds 

Hyaluronic Acid as Used in Cosmetics Today

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in the human body that is found in the matrix of the skin and is used in cosmetics. It was discovered in the early 20th century, at the same time as hyaluronic acid-infused aesthetic procedures and products were rapidly expanding.

This trend corresponds to society’s growing interest in enhancing skin quality and firmness. Awareness of cosmetic practices is increasing, as seen in rising knowledge among potential salon clients. Hyaluronic acid finds use in injections and skin care products, targeting various facial areas like lips. Its versatile role spans skincare and anti-aging efforts, preserving skin vitality and enhancing life quality by meeting aesthetic desires.

Related Article: Rhesus Monkeys Get Better Memory with Anti-Aging Protein Klotho Injections 

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