Genes identified that can control the ageing process

An international study, co-led by Kings College, London has identified eight genes that control an adrenal gland produced steroid, which plays a part in the ageing and longevity process in humans.

Crucially, some of these eight genetic regions are also associated with important diseases of ageing, including type 2 diabetes and lymphoma. The findings of this study are published in the journal PloS Genetics and provide the first genetic evidence for the ageing role of the steroid.

The steroid, dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS) was already known to decline rapidly with age, and by the age of 85 years it can be diminished by up to 95%. A deficiency in this protein may contribute to many common age-related diseases or reduced longevity.

These findings provide a basis for future studies and may help to answer important questions such as whether sustained levels of DHEAS can actually delay the ageing process and prevent age related diseases from occurring. 

One of a pair of small, triangular shaped glands located above each kidney. Full medical glossary
A disorder caused by insufficient or absent production of the hormone insulin by the pancreas, or because the tissues are resistant to the effects. Full medical glossary
The basic unit of genetic material carried on chromosomes. Full medical glossary
Relating to the genes, the basic units of genetic material. Full medical glossary
An organ with the ability to make and secrete certain fluids. Full medical glossary
A watery or milky bodily fluid containing lymphocytes, proteins and fats. Lymph accumulates outside the blood vessels in the intercellular spaces of the body tiisues and is collected by the vessels of the lymphatic system. Full medical glossary
A type of cancer that affects the lymph nodes, part of the immune system. Full medical glossary
Compounds that form the structure of muscles and other tissues in the body, as well as comprising enzymes and hormones. Full medical glossary
Relating to the kidney. Full medical glossary