Free radicals are often blamed for causing cellular damage that promotes aging. A new study published today in linkurl:__Cell Metabolism__; suggests that they don't wreak cellular havoc, but plug into specific signaling pathways involved in linkurl:aging.; Gaelle Laurent at the Curie Institute in Paris and colleagues created knockout mice missing gene that protects cells against oxidative stress, JunD. The mice aged prematurely and also had higher insulin levels than normal. Free radicals also accumulated in the insulin producing beta-cells in the knockouts' pancreas, which in turn promoted the growth of new blood vessels there. The researchers found that antioxidants decreased the levels of free radicals, but also of insulin. In other words, free radicals may act as a signal that promotes angiogenesis; the researchers think the signals turned by free radicals feed back into the pancreas and increase insulin levels. Insulin is linked to aging via the FoxO gene, thought...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?