Does fat hold the key to reversing the aging process?
Maybe as plastic surgeons have just recently identified specific molecular changes in genome structure that occur in fat that may serve as critical markers for tissue aging. If these changes can be reversed, they may someday provide people with a more youthful appearance on a molecular level — without surgery. The findings were presented at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) annual conference, Plastic Surgery The Meeting in New Orleans.
“Fat is an excellent model with which to study human aging,” says Ivona Percec, MD, a plastic surgeon at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia in a press release. “Our goal is to define the molecular changes responsible for normal human tissue aging to identify novel, less invasive, therapies for the prevention and treatment of aging.”
Researchers extracted fat from the abdomen of healthy patients aged 18-85 who were undergoing plastic surgery. Fat cells and stem cells were then extracted and genes regulating aging were examined. There were specific changes that occur to histones and other molecules regulating gene activity that may serve as critical makers to tissue aging.
By identifying these critical markers, researchers hope to someday reverse the changes that occur to recreate a more youthful pattern of DNA architecture. According to the authors, future application could be administered in pill, topical, or injectable form.
“Histones and the way our genes are organized in our cells are important to aging – they affect how cells age,” says Percec. “In future studies, we will investigate regulatory molecules that reverse changes in the human genome structure in an attempt to prevent or reverse aging in these cells.”