Our body functions are regulated by our genetic material, DNA, that provides specific genes to produce almost everything our body needs. The building blocks of our DNA are called nucleotides.
Scientist have discovered that cell aging, or senescence, is a result of insufficient availability of the nucleotides.
They found that a lack of nucleotides decreases the cell’s capacity for self-repair and self-renewal leading to the accumulation of senescent, or aged cells.
Senescence is a natural process that removes damaged cells and promotes tumor suppression. Senescent cells normally destroy themselves by apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Programmed cell death kicks in when the cells are damaged beyond repair, and damaged cells are removed by immune cells.
Stress and toxins create excessive amounts of cell and DNA damaging factors, such as reactive oxidative species, which promote senescence.
Excessive senescence caused by environmental factors and bad nutrition, overwhelms our body’s capacity to remove them and causes an accumulation of senescent “zombie” cells, which can lead to damaging surrounding cells and tissue, and cancers.
Extreme senescence leads to premature aging and diminished function of body and mind.
Scientist are currently developing treatment options, called senolytics, to promote the removal of senescent cells before they can damage their neighboring cells and cause inflammation.
However, excessive senescence is one of the multiple other factors responsible for premature aging . The science of aging and its treatment is
Original publication: http://www.jbc.org/content/294/27/10564