A group of South Korean scientists has identified a gene that may help slow the rate of aging and also treat or prevent cancer, the science ministry said Tuesday. According to the team from the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, the gene, TXNIP, helps create and maintain hematopoietic stem cells, which are blood cells that develop into all other blood cells, including immunity-related white cells.
The gene’s relevance to aging was identified in a test, in which hematopoietic cells in mice that lack TXNIP genes dropped by up to 90 percent compared to a group of controlled or normal mice when they were aged and placed under stress. None of the mice lacking TXNIP genes survived after a seven-day period while all of the normal mice survived, the ministry said in a press release. The team has also confirmed that hematopoietic stem cells lacking TXNIP genes have up to 40 percent more reactive oxygen species, which in turn suppressed the cell cycle, and thus sped up the rate of cell aging and eventually led to their death.
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