GDF11 has been touted as an anti-aging hormone, able to rejuvenate multiple organs. Levels of GDF11 dwindle with age, and researchers have now determined levels are likely heritable
After young blood was found to have such a profound rejuvenative effect on older mice, scientists theorised hormone GDF11 could be why. GDF11 has been shown to have restorative effects on the cardiovascular system, muscles and even the brain, and levels of the molecule appear to decline with time. We've covered GDF11 in a previous article, as there has been some controversy over whether it's the real deal or not. It's looking more and more likely that it is.
"Finding that GDF11 levels are under genetic control is of significant interest. Since it is under genetic control, we can find the genes responsible for GDF11 levels and its changes with age"
GDF11 expression is genetically regulated
In the latest research, GDF11 was found to have declined markedly by middle age and in 22 different strains of mice, those with higher GDF11 levels appeared to get a protective, longevity boost.
Knowing this, the team use gene mapping to hone down on 7 candidate genes that were determining blood concentrations in middle age.
"Essentially, we found a missing piece of the aging/genetics puzzle. Very generally, we've made an important step toward learning about aging and why we age and what are the pathways that drive it. It's the first step down a long road, but it's an important step"
Diminished levels of this hormone are now strongly correlated with age, and if they really are determined by genetic or epigenetic regulation, we may be able to target expression with therapeutics to boost falling concentrations.
Read more at MedicalXpress