Jellyfish Relative Unveils Astonishing Anti-Aging Abilities
A relative of jellyfish displays an extraordinary capability for regenerating its cells and appears to possess resistance against aging. The genetic composition of this remarkable organism contained a potentially groundbreaking discovery: a potential solution to combat the effects of aging.
Throughout history, humanity has been driven by the desire to achieve immortality. Many interesting stories and myths have been told about the search for the elixirs of life. The medieval alchemists worked hard to find the secret formula for the philosopher's stone, a legendary substance known for making people feel younger. There is another famous story about the journeys of Juan Ponce de León. While exploring the New World, he went on a mission to find a mysterious fountain that was said to have the power to make people young again.
Experts are currently conducting research on marine creatures that may possess rejuvenating effects that could lead to the "fountain of youth" pill.
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health and other researchers made discoveries about healing and aging. They studied a small sea creature that can regenerate its entire body from its mouth. The researchers analyzed the RNA of Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus, a small animal with a tube-like shape that resides on hermit crabs' shells. The researchers discovered a molecular signature linked to the aging process, also known as senescence, just as the Hydractinia were starting to grow new bodies. A study published in Cell Reports reveals that Hydractinia shows a connection between the processes of healing and aging, shedding light on the evolution of aging.
They were asking about the remarkable ability of a tiny marine organism to grow an entirely new body just from its mouth. The researchers analyzed the RNA of Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus, a small, tubular organism that resides in the shells of hermit crabs. The researchers identified a specific chemical signature closely associated with the natural process of aging, known as senescence. This occurred when the Hydractinia creatures started to regenerate their bodies. The Cell Reports research provides new insights into the evolutionary aspects of aging by emphasizing the relationship between healing and aging in Hydractinia.
Human beings possess limited regenerative capabilities, resulting in their ability to undergo bone healing or restore a damaged liver. Certain animals, such as salamanders and zebrafish, can regenerate complete limbs and effectively heal diverse organs. Hydractinia, characterized by their relatively uncomplicated anatomical structures, have the remarkable ability to regenerate an entire organism from a minute tissue fragment.
It is believed that senescence may play a restorative function that differs from what we've seen in human cells. Dr. Andy Baxevanis, a senior scientist at NHGRI and one of the study's authors, adds that most senescence research focuses on chronic inflammation, cancer, and age-related disorders. It is often seen in people that senescent cells tend to remain senescent. These cells have the ability to generate persistent inflammation and accelerate the aging process in neighboring cells. Studying organisms such as Hydractinia may help us comprehend the advantages of aging and healing, which can lead to a better knowledge of these processes.
Previous studies have found that Hydractinia has a specific group of stem cells that are important for regeneration. Stem cells have an amazing ability to turn into different types of specialized cells. This makes them extremely valuable in regenerative medicine, where they can be used to create new tissues and organs. Stem cells in humans are mainly involved in the process of development. In organisms like Hydractinia that have strong regenerative abilities, stem cells are used throughout their entire life. The stem cells that drive regeneration in Hydractinia are located in the lower trunk region of its body. However, the researchers noticed that when the mouth, which is far away from the stem cells, is removed, a new body is formed. Unlike human cells, which are dedicated to their specific functions, certain regenerative organisms have adult cells that can revert back into stem cells after injury. However, we still have a limited understanding of the mechanisms involved in this process. The researchers had a hypothesis that Hydractinia produces new stem cells. They then looked for molecular signals that could potentially guide this process.
After discovering senescence through RNA sequencing, the researchers carefully analyzed the Hydractinia genome. They specifically looked for sequences that are similar to the ones found in senescence-related genes in humans. One of the three genes that were found showed activation in cells surrounding the animal's incision site. The researchers noticed a significant decrease in the animals' ability to form senescent cells when they removed this specific gene. As a result, the mice were unable to regenerate because the senescent cells were missing.
The researchers studied Hydractinia to understand how this animal protects itself from the negative effects of aging. Surprisingly, the animals removed the old cells from their mouths. Humans cannot get rid of aging cells, but studying the genes related to aging in Hydractinia can help us understand how the aging process starts.
Hydractinia, jellyfish, and corals are closely related, and they all evolved from a common ancestor with humans around 600 million years ago. These species are known for their unique trait of not experiencing the aging process. Hydractinia has unique characteristics that can help us understand our earliest animal ancestors. Therefore, the researchers suggest that regeneration was the main purpose of senescence in the earliest mammals.
Under certain circumstances, humans cannot regenerate specific body parts. For example, when humans experience a broken bone or a damaged liver, they can start a regenerative process to heal these injuries. It is important to mention that other organisms, like salamanders and zebrafish, have even more remarkable regenerative abilities. These creatures possess an exceptional ability to replace entire organs and regenerate a variety of tissues. Hydractinia is a species that has simple body structures and is well-known for its impressive ability to regenerate.
Dr. Andy Baxevanis, a researcher at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) in the United States, suggests that studying distantly related animals can help us understand how regeneration and aging work. The information gained from these insights could help improve regenerative medicine and our understanding of age-related diseases. Senescent cells in humans are cells that have stopped dividing and usually stay in that state. These cells have the potential to harm the body by causing chronic inflammation and speeding up the aging process in nearby cells. Studying animals like Hydractinia can provide us with valuable information about the advantages of aging and help us understand more about aging and healing processes.
According to Charles Rotimi, Ph.D., the director of the NHGRI Intramotor Research Program, research on unique organisms helps us understand how many biological processes are universal. These studies also emphasize that our knowledge about these processes' functions, relationships, and evolution is still quite limited. These discoveries have the potential to provide valuable new information about human biology.
Hydractinia is an intriguing organism that utilizes stem cells. Stem cells are unique cells that can transform into various types of tissues in the body. The research team found that humans share similar genes with each other. Research has shown that Hydractinia, a marine organism, can remove senescent cells using its mouth. On the other hand, humans struggle with effectively removing senescent cells from their bodies. Studying the genes related to aging in Hydractinia provides valuable information about how the aging process has evolved.
Baxevanis states that our knowledge about how senescent cells start the process of regeneration and its presence in different animal species is currently limited. Therefore, more research is needed to gain a better understanding. Nevertheless, he maintains optimism regarding the advancements in this area.