Genetics of aging and cancer resistance

Nov 15, 2008

In the November 15th issue of G&D, Dr. Kenneth Dorshkind and colleagues at the David Geffen School of Medicine (UCLA) have identified two genes – p16(Ink4a) and Arf – that sensitize lymphoid progenitor cells to the effects of aging, and confer resistance to leukemogenesis.

Hematopoiesis (the development of blood cells) entails two main pathways: myelopoiesis (the formation of the red and white myeloid cells) and lymphopoiesis (the formation of B- and T-cells). While myelopoiesis remains constant throughout life, lymphopoiesis declines with age.

Dr. Dorshkind and colleagues demonstrated that older B lymphoid progenitor cells preferentially express p16(Ink4a) and Arf, which regulate cell cycle progression to effectively mediate senescence and tumor suppression in these aged cells. In contrast, myeloid progenitor cells consistently expressed much lower levels of these proteins.

The scientists showed that p16(Ink4a) and Arf contribute to the age-related decline in B-cell lymphopoiesis, and that inhibition of p16(Ink4a) and Arf in B-cell progenitors rejuvenates their growth potential and facilitates the development of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

This newly established role for p16(Ink4a) and Arf linking the proliferative and oncogenic potential of B lymphoid progenitor cells lends genetic insight into the high incidence of lymphoid leukemias in younger patients, as well as the observation that adult leukemias generally involve the myeloid cell lineages.

As noted by the authors, "In addition to providing a basis for understanding the clinical presentation of lymphoid leukemias, these results raise the possibility that p16Ink4a and Arf may be potential therapeutic targets for rejuvenating the aged immune system".

Source: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Explore further: Chronic inflammation linked to 'high-grade' prostate cancer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

3 hours ago

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

Simplicity is key to co-operative robots

4 hours ago

A way of making hundreds—or even thousands—of tiny robots cluster to carry out tasks without using any memory or processing power has been developed by engineers at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Freight train industry to miss safety deadline

5 hours ago

The U.S. freight railroad industry says only one-fifth of its track will be equipped with mandatory safety technology to prevent most collisions and derailments by the deadline set by Congress.

Recommended for you

Unraveling the 'black ribbon' around lung cancer

Apr 17, 2014

It's not uncommon these days to find a colored ribbon representing a disease. A pink ribbon is well known to signify breast cancer. But what color ribbon does one think of with lung cancer?

User comments : 0

More news stories

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...