Navigation Links
A mother's genes influence her child's aging
Date:8/22/2013

As we grow older, not only the function of organs slows down. Also on a cellular level more and more damages occur. One reason is that DNA errors accumulate which cause defective cells. Now a team of researchers lead by Nils-Gran Larsson at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne has shown that ageing is determined not only by the accumulation of DNA damage that occurs during lifetime but also by damage that we acquire from our mothers. In a study on mice, the researchers have shown that mutations of maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA influence the offspring's ageing process starting from birth.

Ageing is a complex process, in the course of which more and more damage accumulates within the bodies' tissues, cells and molecules with serious consequences: Organs lose their function and mortality risk increases. Why some people age faster than others has many reasons that are still unsolved. However, damage that occurs within the mitochondria the cell's powerhouses seems to be of particular importance for ageing.

"The mitochondrion contains its own DNA, the so-called mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA, which changes faster than the DNA in the nucleus, and this has a significant impact on the ageing process," says Nils-Gran Larsson, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne and scientist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Together with Lars Olson, also a scientist at the Karolinska Institute, he has led the study.

"Many mutations in the mitochondria gradually disable the cell's energy production." Contrary to previous findings, not only mutations that accumulate during lifetime play a role: "Surprisingly, we discovered that our mother's mitochondrial DNA seems to influence our own ageing," says James Stewart, a researcher in Larsson's department. "If mice inherit mtDNA with mutations from their mother, they age more quickly." Thus, some of the mutations that cause ageing are already present at birth.

In ageing research, mitochondria have been scrutinized by researchers for a long time already. The mitochondria in a cell contain thousand of copies of a circular DNA genome. These encode, for instance, proteins that are important for the enzymes of the respiratory chain. Whereas the DNA within the nucleus comes from both parents, the mitochondrial DNA only includes maternal genes, as mitochondria are transmitted to offspring via the oocyte and not via sperm cells. As the numerous DNA molecules within a cell's mitochondria mutate independently from each other, normal and damaged mtDNA molecules are passed to the next generation.

To examine which effects mtDNA damage exerts on offspring, researchers used a mouse model. Mice that inherited mutations of mtDNA from their mother not only died quicker compared to those without inherited defects, but also showed premature ageing effects like reduced body mass or a decrease in male's fertility. Moreover, these rodents were prone to heart muscle disease.

As the researchers discovered, mutations of mtDNA not only can accelerate ageing but also impair development: In mice that, in addition to their inherited defects, accumulated mutations of mtDNA during their lifetime, researchers found disturbances of brain development. They conclude that defects of mtDNA that are inherited and those that are acquired later in life add up and finally reach a critical number.

"Our findings shed light on the ageing process and strongly suggest that the mitochondria play a key role in ageing. They also show that it is important to reduce the number of mutations," says Larsson. However, the question of whether it is possible to affect the degree of mtDNA damage through, for example, lifestyle intervention is yet to be investigated. In the future, the scientists want to investigate whether a reduced number of mutations can actually increase lifespan in model organisms such as fruit flies and mice.


'/>"/>

Contact: Nils-Göran Larsson
larsson@age.mpg.de
49-221-478-89771
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Bright birds make good mothers
2. Offspring of mothers stressed during pregnancy with a passive stress coping style more prone to obesity
3. Female mice exposed to BPA by mothers show unexpected characteristics
4. Privacy a problem for mothers of newborns in neonatal intensive care units, CWRU study finds
5. Nursing gerbils unravel benefit of multiple mothers in collective mammals
6. Grant funded to improve mothers nutrition before pregnancy and impact on baby
7. Infants of overweight mothers grow more slowly
8. Montreal researchers repel mortality in Malian mothers
9. Multiple genes manage how people taste sweeteners
10. Fetal stress disrupts the way genes are transmitted
11. Be happy: Your genes may thank you for it
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/22/2016)... , December 22, 2016 SuperCom (NASDAQ: ... secure solutions for the e-Government, Public Safety, HealthCare, and Finance sectors ... SuperCom, has been selected to implement and deploy a community-based supportive ... Northern California , further expanding its presence in the ... This new ...
(Date:12/16/2016)... DUBLIN , Dec 16, 2016 Research ... Access System Market - Global Forecast to 2021" report to ... ... projected to grow at a CAGR of 14.06% from 2016 to ... 2016, and is projected to reach 854.8 Million by 2021. The ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... , Dec. 15, 2016 ... driving experience, health wellness and wellbeing (HWW), ... one in three new passenger vehicles begin ... recognition, gesture recognition, heart beat monitoring, brain ... monitoring, facial monitoring, and pulse detection. These ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... NY (PRWEB) , ... January 19, 2017 , ... FireflySci ... an exponential rate. The tremendous growth is accounted to two main factors. ... table and the expanding network of vendors supplying FireflySci products all around the world. ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... , Jan. 18, 2017 Acupath Laboratories, ... announces the formation of an Executive Committee that will ... beyond. John Cucci , a 15-year ... from Director of Business Development to Chief Sales ... Mr. Cucci served in senior sales leadership roles at ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... 18, 2017   Boston Biomedical , an industry ... target cancer stemness pathways, will feature data from two ... the 2017 ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, held from January ... Napabucasin is an orally-administered investigational agent designed ... Cancer stem cells (CSCs) possess the property of ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... Total Orthopedics ... implanted SpineFrontier’s A-CIFT™ Solofuse-P™. The operation took place on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 ... procedure was an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion on a 42 year old ...
Breaking Biology Technology: