Aging

Signaling an extended health span

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Science  01 Dec 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6367, pp. 1144-1145
DOI: 10.1126/science.358.6367.1144-g

Research on aging increasingly emphasizes the importance of health span rather than life span itself. Yin et al. found that in the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, genetic variation in some (but not all) measures of health span was influenced by variation in genes encoding a neuropeptide and its corresponding receptor. The peptide is made in glial cells and activates a receptor on neurons that is similar to the somatostatin and nociceptin receptors of mammals. Loss of signaling in this pathway extended virility and digestive tract function. Understanding such mechanisms might allow therapies that promote health span—a very welcome possibility in a world faced with an expanding population of elderly individuals.

Nature 10.1038/nature24463 (2017).

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