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Aging cells share features with cancer

RATE THIS! +36
Posted in Medicine on 3rd Dec, 2013 03:04 AM by AlexMuller

The older we get, the higher our risk of cancer. With age, we accumulate exposure to environments and chemicals that increase the risk of acquiring cancer-causing mutations. But the danger doesn't increase in a linear manner, and we know little about why there is such a dramatic increase with aging.

 
Accumulated damage isn’t the only thing going on as we age. The body’s cells also go through a process called senescence. Chief among the changes that come with senescence are alterations to the epigenome, the proteins and chemical modifications that are attached to our DNA. These epigenetic changes can influence which genes are active in different tissues.
 
During the senescent phase of a human cell’s life, the epigenetic changes are an attempt to shutdown the process of cell division. Cell division involves creating copies of chromosomes and distributing them into two identical copies of the parent cell. But cells that go senescent stop multiplying. Cancer cells manage to bypass the mechanisms that stop them multiplying, including those put in place during senescence.
 
In the new study, published in Nature Cell Biology, Peter Adams at the University of Glasgow followed the aging process in fibroblasts, which are cells that form connective tissue.
 
Adams and his colleague found that aging cells have less control over their epigenome, leading to widespread changes in DNA modifications. Many sections of the genome that were supposed to be under the control of a DNA methyltransferase (DNMT1), end up with fewer methyl groups attached to the DNA than would be expected. Other sections, known as CpG islands, get more methyl groups. The surprise was that comparison of these epigenetic changes with those found in cancer cells revealed many similarities.
 
According to co-author of the study Richard Meehan, a researcher at the University of Edinburgh’s Human Genetics Unit, the study shows that aging cells have some of the same features as cancer. “But we must be careful about interpreting the results,” he said. The study involved looking at human cells in Petri dishes, so the experiments must be repeated in animals and then humans before we can draw firm conclusions.

Tags: biologyagingcellshealthcancerDNAfibroblastsmutation

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-03
+2
Ageing cells are normal cells and cells are programmed to age. Cancer cells are cells that lost control. This differences should not be overlooked.
3 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-03
+0
Compelling evidence now indicates that cell senescence is a potent tumour suppression mechanism. At the same time, senescence likely contributes to tissue and organismal ageing 


6 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-03
+0
Understanding epigetics is important. Although epigenetic aberrations frequently occur in aging and cancer, perhaps the most useful aspect of epigenetic processes is that they are readily reversible Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-03
+1
Unlike genetic effects that also play a role in cancer and aging, epigenetic aberrations can be relatively easily corrected. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-03
+1
The quantity of calories that are consumed has proven to be advantageous in preventing cancer and extending the lifespan through control of epigenetic mediators. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-03
+0
It seems that vegetables and green tea have anticancer epigenetic effects and are also efficacious for preventing or treating the epigenetic aberrations of other age-associated diseases besides cancer Reply
Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-03
+0
The study is potentially important and gives a strong hint of why aging increases our risk of cancer and provides a better understanding of the aging process Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-03
+3
What they have done is not completely new, but it is a big piece of work. And they have a lot of evidence to back up their claim
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-03
+0
It has been reported before that senescent cells appear to undergo changes in their chromatin and there are similar changes in cells that are prematurely aging Reply
Reply


 

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