Anti-Ageing research and the epigenetic clock

flynn

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 28, 2018
103
75
28
#1
This is a quick post but I may expand on it later. An area of research which is gaining a lot of attention today relates to the work of Dr David Sinclair and anti-ageing. Much of this work revolves around the sirtuins genes/proteins and the regulation of epigenetics.

In simple terms epigenetics determines which genes are read and which genes are silenced in each cell. Every cell in your body holds the same genetic content but it only reads/expresses a small portion of this genetic content due to epigenetics. An analogy is that your genome is a book and epigenetics tells your cells which sentences to read and which to ignore.

The main mechanism of epigenetics is called DNA methylation, when genes are methylated they are turned off and not expressed. All cells naturally have DNA methylation, so some DNA methylation is essential to ensure cells are differentiated and can carry out their specific roles however it is thought that too much DNA methylation in the wrong genes leads to cellular dysfunction overtime and ultimately ageing.

An interesting fact relating to this is that advanced labs can accurately determine the age of a cell/tissue by looking only at the rate of methylation. This is a far more accurate and universal measure than looking at telomere length/shortening for example.

Dr Sinclairs team believe that cells have an internal clock known as Horvath's epigenetic clock, in short these clocks have a kind of memory and know what the original younger DNA methylation state of each cell is supposed to be. That means that the cells themselves can to some degree differentiate between 'normal' DNA methylation and not normal DNA methylation responsible for aging and dysfunction etc.

Dr Sinclairs team believe that eventually through the use of drugs/compounds/exposure to the correct factors it would be possible to reverse the epigenetic clock of any cell to something that resembles its initial/original/normal epigenetic state and effectively make the cells young again.

The reason I find this very interesting is because of all the causes of PAS and likely PFS, PSSD, epigenetic changes to gene expression seems to be one of the most probable causes. If this is correct, whatever drug/compound/treatment that is eventually developed by Dr Sinclairs team/research could theoretically reverse the DNA methylation (epigenetic changes) produced by Accutane, Finasteride or SSRIs (Dislcaimer: thats provided that epigenetic changes are the underlying cause of these syndromes). This would be an ideal scenario as there would be a huge social and financial effort towards developing these treatments and they would be available to anyone who could afford them versus the improbability of a company developing a treatment specifically for PAS, PFS or PSSD. Given this, its possible that a treatment for these syndromes could be developed as an accidental effect of one of these treatments.

I recommend listening to some podcasts on this research as its fascinating stuff. Although it may sound crazy but if such a treatment were ever developed, you would likely regain 10-20-30 or many more years of life that have been lost/affected by these syndromes.