A researcher from the University of Virginia, USA has revealed that fatty liver disease and other unwanted effects of aging may be the result of our cells’ nuclei, the compartment containing our DNA, getting wrinkly, as such preventing genes from functioning properly.
The UVA researcher found that viruses could be used to smooth the membranes’ surfaces and restore the cells to functioning as they did in the glow of youth.
Dr. Irina Bochkis of UVA’s Department of Pharmacology discovered that the location of DNA inside the cell ’s nucleus is critically important.
Explaining this, she says, “Genes that are turned off are shoved up against the nuclear membrane, which encases the nucleus. But, with age, our nuclear membranes become lumpy and irregular, which prevents genes from turning off appropriately. Wrinkling of the nuclear membrane is also responsible for unwanted effects of aging in other parts of the body as well.
“We have the same DNA in every single cell but each cell is different. However, certain genes need to be on in the liver and they have to be turned off in the brain, for example, and vice versa. If they are not turned off appropriately, then you have problems.”
Looking at a model of fatty liver disease, Bochkis also found that livers become studded with fat as humans age because of the wrinkly nuclear membranes.
She notes that when the nuclear membrane has stopped functioning properly, it can release the DNA that is supposed to be turned off, so that the liver cell becomes a little fat cell.
She points out that the accumulation of fat inside the liver can cause serious health effects, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
On the remedy, Bochkis says, “The membrane wrinkling stems from a lack of a substance called lamin, a cellular protein that comes in various forms. By putting the appropriate lamin back, we might smooth out the membrane, like Retinol helps smooth face wrinkles.”