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.