A research group headed by Professor Kazunari Komuro at Osaka University believes they have found the chemical responsible for effects of aging like deterioration of muscles.
The nasty chemical responsible for making us old and frail is called C1q. Being able to regulate it in our bodies can possibly lead to treatments and prevention of more serious health problems like heart attacks and strokes.
Professor Komuro’s team injected young mice’s legs with some extra C1q. What they found was the mice began to develop muscular fibrosis. In layman’s terms, their muscle tissue was being replaced by excess scar tissue.
For muscles to be strong they need to be very springy. Sometimes we break our muscles and scar tissue is used to “bridge the gap” while the regular muscle tissue mends itself. When we get fibrosis, too much scar tissue is created and replaces the regular muscle tissue.
Since scar tissue is too stiff to be used as muscle we begin to feel weaker, dare I say older. A similar thing can happen with our arteries and heart leading to much more disastrous results.
Professor Komuro’s team also lowered the levels of C1q in elderly mice and found that their incidence of muscular fibrosis had decreased to levels below the young mice. In essence this could very well be a legitimate anti-aging treatment.
Naturally, there is a catch to all this. Although C1q’s effects on aging are completely unheard of, this protein complex has been around for a while. It was previously known for its involvement in our immune system helping to kill off invading germs. For example, people suffering from Lupus are known to have low C1q levels.
Professor Komuro confirms this saying, “There is a possibility that C1q is linked to health problems caused by old age like, heart attacks and hardening of arteries. However, because of its connection to immunity, removing it from the body may not be good. If we can learn more about this substance then we can utilize it in treatments of various health concerns connected to aging.”
So it seems that removing C1q from your body theoretically could keep you young forever, or at least until you die from catching a cold. However, with measured usage this discovery can still have some widespread applications helping lots of people live longer into old age.
Source: NHK News (Japanese)