Scientists find a biological 'fountain of youth' in new world bat caves

Jun 30, 2009

Scientists from Texas are batty over a new discovery which could lead to the single most important medical breakthrough in human history -- significantly longer lifespans. The discovery, featured on the cover of the July 2009 print issue of The FASEB Journal, shows that proper protein folding over time in long-lived bats explains why they live significantly longer than other mammals of comparable size, such as mice.

"Ultimately we are trying to discover what underlying mechanisms allow for some animal species to live a very long time with the hope that we might be able to develop therapies that allow people to age more slowly," said Asish Chaudhuri, Professor of , VA Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas and the senior researcher involved in the work.

Asish and colleagues made their discovery by extracting proteins from the livers of two long-lived bat species (Tadarida brasiliensis and Myotis velifer) and young adult mice and exposed them to chemicals known to cause protein misfolding. After examining the proteins, the scientists found that the bat proteins exhibited less damage than those of the mice, indicating that have a mechanism for maintaining proper structure under extreme stress.

"Maybe Juan Ponce De León wasn't too far off the mark when he searched Florida for the Fountain of Youth," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The . "As it turns out, one of these bat species lives out its long life in Florida. Since bats are rodents with wings, this chemical clue as to why bats beat out in the aging game should point scientists to the source of this elusive fountain."

More information: Adam B. Salmon, Shanique Leonard, Venkata Masamsetti, Anson Pierce, Andrej J. Podlutsky, Natalia Podlutskaya, Arlan Richardson, Steven N. Austad, and Asish R. Chaudhuri. The long lifespan of two bat species is correlated with resistance to protein oxidation and enhanced protein homeostasis FASEB J. 2009 23: 2317-2326. doi: 10.1096/fj.08-122523. www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/abstract/23/7/2317

Source: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (news : web)

Explore further: Four billion-year-old chemistry in cells today

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Some bat numbers up in Britain

Dec 31, 2006

At least four species of bats in Britain have reversed decades of declining populations and have grown in numbers recently.

Remarkable journeys may save bat species

Jul 12, 2007

Researchers have new hope for the future of an endangered species of bat after two of the flying mammals traveled 110 miles to a Welsh cave to live.

Anesthesia or hypothermia: Warning for Alzheimer's patients

Mar 11, 2009

Everyone knows that its important to keep a cool head, but a new study published online in The FASEB Journal shows that for Alzheimer's patients, a cool head may make the disease worse. In the research report, scientists show t ...

Recommended for you

Building the ideal rest stop for protons

16 hours ago

Where protons, or positive charges, decide to rest makes the difference between proceeding towards ammonia (NH3) production or not, according to scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and ...

Cagey material acts as alcohol factory

17 hours ago

Some chemical conversions are harder than others. Refining natural gas into an easy-to-transport, easy-to-store liquid alcohol has so far been a logistic and economic challenge. But now, a new material, designed ...

User comments : 36

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Bob_B
2.5 / 5 (24) Jun 30, 2009
Just another medical marvel. I'm tired of thinking about living another 61 years. I'd have to work for another 55 or 58 maybe even 61 years.

I can't find a job now, and living in poverty until I'm 120 is just pathetic.

Those with lots of money and toys the wealthy may find they can continue to play with no problem. Just another great divide between the wealthy and the rest of us.
Hyperion1110
4.3 / 5 (15) Jun 30, 2009
Wow, man. That is one depressing post.
Auxon
4 / 5 (9) Jun 30, 2009
Maybe if you had a longer life you'd feel like you have lots of time to change things for the better.
Izzmo
4.6 / 5 (9) Jun 30, 2009
Just another medical marvel. I'm tired of thinking about living another 61 years. I'd have to work for another 55 or 58 maybe even 61 years.

I can't find a job now, and living in poverty until I'm 120 is just pathetic.

Those with lots of money and toys the wealthy may find they can continue to play with no problem. Just another great divide between the wealthy and the rest of us.

Yeah, well if the economy is still like this in 60 years... I would hope we all could get something out of it.

-- On another note, this explains vampire movies.
Doug_Huffman
2.8 / 5 (13) Jun 30, 2009
Soylent Green feedstock? "Soylent Green is people!"
DeadCorpse
2.8 / 5 (17) Jun 30, 2009
In order to engage in all of the fields of study, all of the places to see on just this planet, all of the interests I could engage in for lucrative remuneration...

I'd need at least another 1000 years. I'd be loving every minute of it.

It's good to be me. ;-)
iledius
3.7 / 5 (6) Jun 30, 2009
If people lived longer, then maybe they would start to care more about the planet that they live on and the society that they live in.
THEY
4.4 / 5 (14) Jun 30, 2009
If humans want to extend their lifespan, they need to quit breeding. Bats may live longer, but they have fewer offspring than mice. If humans had longer life spans without strict population control, we would be nothing more than giant rodents that would destroy the planet.
Corvidae
3 / 5 (6) Jun 30, 2009
Those with lots of money and toys the wealthy may find they can continue to play with no problem. Just another great divide between the wealthy and the rest of us.

The trick is compound interest. Yeah, you're starting with squat, but given an extra 50-60 years of interest, you or your kids could be living pretty good.
docknowledge
5 / 5 (1) Jun 30, 2009
Right Corvidae. It is not a given that living longer means working longer.

And...think big...it's not even necessarily true that money will exist in the future. (A la Star Trek.) I read a book that said one of the biggest problems facing our culture was how to spend its leisure time. In the developed countries, with any luck, it could be the biggest problem.

I sympathize with Bob B, but the issue is why people who are willing and able to work, cannot find work. When you think, there's no basic reason this has to happen.

If our society feels enough pain, it will find a solution.
MorituriMax
1 / 5 (3) Jun 30, 2009
Bob, the depressing man, two words for you man..

Compound Interest.

As Corvidae already pointed out, heh, saw it as I read the later posts.

Cheers!
zevkirsh
5 / 5 (3) Jun 30, 2009
Just another medical marvel. I'm tired of thinking about living another 61 years. I'd have to work for another 55 or 58 maybe even 61 years.



I can't find a job now, and living in poverty until I'm 120 is just pathetic.



Those with lots of money and toys the wealthy may find they can continue to play with no problem. Just another great divide between the wealthy and the rest of us.

Just another medical marvel. I'm tired of thinking about living another 61 years. I'd have to work for another 55 or 58 maybe even 61 years.



I can't find a job now, and living in poverty until I'm 120 is just pathetic.



Those with lots of money and toys the wealthy may find they can continue to play with no problem. Just another great divide between the wealthy and the rest of us.


i think people have yet to realize how important your observation is. if and when life extension technology comes out , it will be revolutionary not because everyone benefits. it will revotionize the economy because the wealthy will use it and extend their lifespan which will lower the deterioration of great fortunes via the esate tax, and more importantly the basic process of wills splitting wealth amonth various brother/sisters/etc.....

and life extension neednt be 100% to make a huge difference. in fact, life extension would not influence this economic process so much as technologies that arrive that promise to allow all wealthy people to live to 90 years old without suffering physical or mental illness . then if you can get them to 100 , 110, beyond....the economic consequences are unfathomable. basically the world becomes more dominated by the wealthiest families than ever.


MorituriMax
2.8 / 5 (4) Jun 30, 2009
My question is, if they don't have money in the future, why don't they build nothing but Battleships with all the bells and whistles. Then, nobody will mess with the Federation.

Alien bad ass: "Good Lord! It's huge!"

Federation Captain: "Oh. That? That's our scout ship, (squints eyes) you can see the class designation right over docking bay 35, right there where the Borg Cube is launching from."
nkalanaga
4.5 / 5 (4) Jun 30, 2009
Part of the problem with the world economy is that many of the essential jobs of 50 years ago have been automated. Keep going, and we'll face 100% unemployment, but there will be plenty of everything. At that point, either civilization collapses into chaos, or we'll have to develop a new economic system, more akin to "hunter-gatherer" societies. People would work at things they like to do, barter with others for "unique" items or personal services, and could survive entirely off the automated systems if they wanted to.

The problem is that ALL of today's economic/political systems are based on scarcity, and money is the easiest way to ration scarce resources. Nobody has ever had the opportunity to design a society where the essentials are available without "forced" labor, whether slavery or "work or starve" capitalism.
PinkElephant
not rated yet Jun 30, 2009
-- On another note, this explains vampire movies.


Izzmo, thanks for the laugh. That was good.
KBK
2.5 / 5 (10) Jun 30, 2009
Actually, you don't have to work.

you fell for the fiat currency bullshit game as it is what you grew up with. Basically, trained since birth to think that fiat currencies and government for the rich and money is what life is about.

News flash: The system is rigged to give this power to those who desire it and those who desire to make sure you are deep in it.

It's real easy to fix society. You have to realize that 40 % of the population is genetically born with LOW EMPATHY. A few of them are sociopaths in the extreme. Power draws them as it fits their genetic profile.

Work at recognizing power driven sociopaths and chop them down on sight.

Problem fixed. The answer is a lot longer than that simple bit but that's one of the basic components.
otto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jun 30, 2009
'single most important medical breakthrough in human history'- I thought it was RU486. One BILLION abortions to the present, not counting offspring. There will be room for us tricentenarians yet.
otto1923
3.5 / 5 (2) Jun 30, 2009
Our brains start to deteriorate after age 15. They'll have to do major work to make it last. Outsourcing maybe? It's far too big, delicate, energy-hungry. We can outsource memory first, that rarely works well. Instead of memories we will have links.
nkalanaga
5 / 5 (1) Jun 30, 2009
We already did that when we invented writing. Before then, people had to memorize everything, and they did. Today, all you need to remember is where it's written down, and how to read it. One memory can serve millions of people.
Ethelred
2.8 / 5 (11) Jul 01, 2009
Work at recognizing power driven sociopaths and chop them down on sight.


So, that would boil down to:
See a sociopath, be a sociopath.

I will pass on that Dr. Lector.

Ethelred

QubitTroll is now released from my sig since June is over.

Possible response from Qubitamer who has yet to remove the fantasies from his profile.

'I a free. I am Qubit trolling tamer and I am free' (paraphrase from the movie Young Winston)

He is still trolling in his profile. And he still lies about being a physicist. This will be the only post marking his freedom. Till the next time he trolls in a thread I am in anyway.

I retain the right to put him back in my sig at any time as long as he continues to use his profile to tell lies. About anyone not just me.
GaryB
2 / 5 (3) Jul 01, 2009

Those with lots of money and toys the wealthy may find they can continue to play with no problem. Just another great divide between the wealthy and the rest of us.


There's your problem right there. Find work you love and you might not want to stop. If you have that, you won't be unemployed either -- you do well at what you love and stay in demand.

In any case, I'd be happy just hearing great new ideas at conferences and lectures along with new comedy. Most of the so called "toys" are of no interest to me but are prized by those with no real interests.
ICUdoc
not rated yet Jul 01, 2009
Excellent work Arlan and crew - I knew that biochemistry would someday prove to be a subject with relevance to medicine.
A bat collage is now in order !
Illinois State Grad 1977
MenaceSan
4 / 5 (4) Jul 01, 2009
"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." -- Confucius
otto1923
not rated yet Jul 01, 2009
We already did that when we invented writing.

I'm talking the growing possibility of recording ever-larger chunks of our lives automatically, in realtime. Eventually we'll be able to recall digital av memories along with accompanying physical and emotional states, stored and redacted elsewhere, and we'll realize how faulty and distorted our own memories actually are. And we'll learn to rely on them less and less.
AMMBD
not rated yet Jul 03, 2009
My question is, if they don't have money in the future, why don't they build nothing but Battleships with all the bells and whistles. Then, nobody will mess with the Federation.

best comment ever - about laughed myself to death - thanks :)



Alien bad ass: "Good Lord! It's huge!"



Federation Captain: "Oh. That? That's our scout ship, (squints eyes) you can see the class designation right over docking bay 35, right there where the Borg Cube is launching from."

lysdexia
1 / 5 (2) Jul 03, 2009
Why they're asleep all day.
Ethelred
2.3 / 5 (9) Jul 04, 2009
ghidon:

I see why you don't have the guts to post. You don't known a good post from a bad one except you know you simply couldn't makes decent comment to save your life.

Start posting or BUT OUT.

I am sure I am not the only one is tired of you giving people ones without the courtesy of a reach around.

I bet you don't understand that joke either.

Go get an elbow transplant.

OK that one is obscure but if you don't understand it what the heck are you doing here? Besides being rude that is.

Ethelred
Birger
5 / 5 (1) Jul 04, 2009
Bats are not the only interesting species in this context -parrots are even more long-lived despite their small size. We need to get comparative genomics from a lot of species who live longer than related ones of similar size in order to harness the full potential of life extension.
BTW, many birds also avoid getting cancer (apart from cancer induced by virus) and increased frequency of cancer goes along with increased age. This is another very interesting road of research.
Arikin
not rated yet Jul 06, 2009
Birger thank you for actually referring to what the actual article is about :-)

They choose bats because of the mammalian link to ourselves. But yes a broader view is going to help.

I hope the previous posters realize that any benefit from this study will not help them personally. The answer may well required gene manipulation at a level far beyond the simple gene therapy available today. Just to inject a bit of reality here :-)
jeffsaunders
not rated yet Jul 06, 2009
Birger - they compared bats to rats because they were both effectively rodents. Parrots do live a long time but then you need a short lived close relative to do the comparison.
Birger
not rated yet Jul 06, 2009
Thanks, Arikin and Jeffsaunders. Regarding to the time scale, once we have a full human genome and *proteome* to compare with the bat data I hope we can find some way to at least boost existing human age-slowing mechanisms during our lifetimes.
To go further would require extensive genetic engineering of human reproductive cells.
Cancer gets much more common among the elderly, but there is hope it eventually might become a manageable chronic disease.
If I am allowed to speculate about the *far* future, once you allow GM of your children's genes to prolong their lives, you might also throw in some genes that make at least a few months of hibernation possible (other mammals can do it so why not H. sapiens?) and I envision we could apply the reduced metabolism to cancer patients, providing the extra time needed to decode the individual tumor genomes. This will make tailor-made cures possible.
And throw in some genes blocking the development of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's !
LuckyBrandon
1 / 5 (5) Jul 06, 2009
i ENTIRELY agree with "THEY"
If we do expand our lifespan (which I have no doubt whatsoever that we will), AND continue our current rate of growth as a species, then we will entirely overwhelm the world we live on. It simply wouldnt be able to handle us unless it kicked off an evolutionary cycle leading us to be very small people.

I also agree in the aspect of not wanting to live that long. Me myself, I look forward to death...I'll finally get to rest, the sooner the better....BUT, for my kids...I would totally like them to have this at a young age so they grow up knowing life will be much longer.
I dont think any adult over a certain age (say 28-33 range) would necessarily want to live this much longer, however, if given a "dose" while as a child and being told you can live up to 120, 130, 140 years, then the children will expect that and likely be ok with it their whole lives...possibly even quite grateful (maybe even enough to keep us from retirement homes :D)
Ethelred
2.3 / 5 (6) Jul 07, 2009
I dont think any adult over a certain age (say 28-33 range) would necessarily want to live this much longe


Think harder. I am 58 and in no hurry to 'rest'. Such a rest is forever so it isn't rest.

I find the bat research more interesting than Birger's idea for parrots. Not that we can't learn something but because birds, reptiles and mammals seem to have very different clocks. With birds more closely matching reptiles than their fellow warm bloods.

It would have been even more interesting if the bats had been fruitbats as those are related to primates.

Ethelred
LuckyBrandon
1 / 5 (5) Jul 07, 2009
funny you say that ethelred...when i was just re-reading my comment, I was thinking I should have added "depending on if theyve had a had enough life" or something similar....



i just figure its coming anyways, so no point worrying about when...just have peace of mind that you know youre FINALLY done with all the bullshit :)
Ethelred
2.3 / 5 (6) Jul 08, 2009
I should have added "depending on if theyve had a had enough life" or something similar....


No such thing. Well there are extreme cases such as terminal painful illness. Torture to extract information that will lead to the same for others. That sort of horror.

ust have peace of mind that you know youre FINALLY done with all the bullshit :)


Well that is the most obvious call for an ad homynim attack I have ever seen.

There is always more to learn. Like how to avoid bullshit for one. Or at least to handle it as it deserves. Give up because some people play fast and loose with language. I don't think so.

Ethelred
LuckyBrandon
1 / 5 (5) Jul 08, 2009
that was meant to say a rough life, not enough life....doesnt now, nor has it ever, held much value for me...we're all born and start dying from birth...the point i was making is that we are all raised with the knowledge we'll die at a decently younger age than 120-140 range...and its accepted fact for all of us....hence why itd have to be with small children where you started it. after all, you wouldnt want some crazy schizo runnin around the streets for 70 extra years right :)