The Key To Aging May Have Been Discovered In The Hypothalamus

The Key To Aging May Have Been Discovered In The Hypothalamus

While the search continues for the Fountain of Youth, researchers may have found the body’s “fountain of aging”: the brain region known as the hypothalamus. For the first time, scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University report that the hypothalamus of mice controls aging throughout the body. Their discovery of a specific age-related signaling pathway opens up new strategies for combating diseases of old age and extending lifespan. The paper was published in the online edition of Nature.

“Scientists have long wondered whether aging occurs independently in the body’s various tissues or if it could be actively regulated by an organ in the body,” said senior author Dongsheng Cai, M.D., Ph.D., professor of molecular pharmacology at Einstein. “It’s clear from our study that many aspects of aging are controlled by the hypothalamus. What’s exciting is that it’s possible – at least in mice – to alter signaling within the hypothalamus to slow down the aging process and increase longevity.”

The hypothalamus, an almond-sized structure located deep within the brain, is known to have fundamental roles in growth, development, reproduction, and metabolism. Dr. Cai suspected that the hypothalamus might also play a key role in aging through the influence it exerts throughout the body.

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