Aging

A sweet decline for the aging fly brain

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Science  15 Aug 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6198, pp. 783
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6198.783-b

Our livers and muscles store glucose as glycogen, a branched polysaccharide. Glycogen is a major energy reserve, but it may play a more sinister role in the aging brain. Along with other components, glycogen forms aggregates in the brains of aging mice, humans, and flies that correlate with a decline in neuron function. To better understand this, Sinadinos et al. experimented with fruit flies. They used RNA interference to inhibit the flies' production of glycogen synthase, the enzyme that makes glycogen from glucose. Then the researchers measured how fast the flies could climb. As the flies aged, their neurons functioned better than those of controls. Treated male flies—but not females—lived longer.

Aging Cell 10.1111/acel.12254 (2014).

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