November 28, 2008

Researchers find clue to aging

Harvard researchers report finding a new clue into the reason for aging in a minor ingredient of red wine and its role in activating a protein.

Scientists said they made their finding while trying to understand how the agent resveratrol improves the health and lifespan of laboratory mice, The New York Times reported.

In their finding, published online in the journal Cell, a group led by David Sinclair of the Harvard Medical School said it was believed that the integrity of chromosomes is compromised as people age. They say that resveratrol works by activating a protein known as sirtuin that restores the chromosomes to health.

The report is part of a growing effort by biologists to understand the sirtuins and other powerful agents that control the settings on the living cell's metabolism.

Researchers are just beginning to figure out how these agents work, hoping they can develop drugs to enhance resistance to disease and to retard aging.