'Stress' protein could halt aging process, say scientists

May 24, 2010

HSP10 (Heat Shock Protein), helps monitor and organise protein interactions in the body, and responds to environmental stresses, such as exercise and infection, by increasing its production inside cells. Researchers at Liverpool, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of California, found that excessive amounts of HSP10 inside mitochondria - 'organs' that act as energy generators in cells - can halt the body's ageing process by preserving muscle strength.

HSP10 occurs naturally in all and scientists believe that study into its functions could prove significant for the design of future health care for the elderly, who are particularly susceptible to damage. Researchers examined the role HSP10 plays inside , to further understand how ageing muscle tissue can recover from stress.

Professor Anne McArdle, from the University's School of Clinical Sciences, said: "We studied the role of HSP10 inside mitochondria, as it is here that unstable chemicals are produced which can harm parts of the cell. The damage caused by this is thought to play an important part in the , in which becomes smaller and weaker and more susceptible to stress damage.

"In response to these stresses HSP10 increases its levels and helps cells resist damage and recover more effectively. Our research is the first to demonstrate that age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass is not inevitable and this could have considerable implications for the future health care of the elderly. Between the ages of 50 and 70 we lose approximately 25-30% of our muscle. Falls - a major cause of injury and death in people over the age of 65 - are often the direct result of loss of mobility and weakened skeletal muscle.

"We now need to look at how we might artificially increase production of HSP10 in the body, specifically in relation to ageing muscle, to see if the protein could be used as a therapeutic measure. In time, clinical trials must take place to establish what benefits HSP10 can have on human quality of life, such as preservation of muscle strength."

The research, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), is published in the American Journal of Physiology.

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5 / 5 (4) May 24, 2010
This could also help offset loss of muscle mass during zero-G space missions.
1 / 5 (1) May 24, 2010
This could also help offset loss of muscle mass during zero-G space missions.

or athletic inadequacy during professional athletic venues.
5 / 5 (1) May 25, 2010
This could also be the new viagra for those of us that detest the idea of becoming a girly man just cause we are fat, bald, and old. Emphasis on the old of course.
5 / 5 (2) May 25, 2010
As Dr Aubrey de Grey the world famous bio gerontologist points out there are 7 fundamental causes of aging and number 1 on the list is Cell death and atrophy: So far it has been determined that this is treatable with exercise, stem cells, and chemicals which stimulate cell division. Clearly this possible breakthrough is a step in the right direction and a vital ingredient in increasing healthspan if not actual lifespan.
not rated yet May 26, 2010
Yes, I think that this is a very interesting line of research as well and hope clinical trials can be designed and started soon. Muscle and bone are certainly good places to start some real improvements, with neurons not too far behind! MikeGroovey's comment about mass loss in ZeroG sound right on target as well as something to explore.
not rated yet May 31, 2010
Heat shock protein?! Could it be that simple that you just have to pay regular visits to a health spa and do some serious sweating in the finnish sauna there to increase the level of that protein?
not rated yet Jun 03, 2010
Not all HSPs are generated by the same kinds of stresses.

You have to focus specifically on HSP10, which may have little to do with heating yourself up.

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