Autophagy is the name given to a collection of cellular housekeeping processes responsible for recycling damaged or unwanted proteins and cellular structures, preventing them from causing further harm within the cell. Many of the methods of modestly slowing aging in laboratory species are observed to involve increased levels of autophagy. For some, such as calorie restriction, there is evidence to demonstrate that functional autophagy is required for aging to be slowed.
Researchers have long been interested in developing pharmaceutical means to enhance autophagy as a form of therapy. This is arguably even more the case these days, now that treating aging as a medical condition is considered to be a respectable goal. Despite the many years of work, therapeutic enhancement of autophagic processes has yet to progress all that far the laboratory, however. Trials have been conducted, but reliable, safe autophagy enhancing drugs have yet to emerge at the far side. The research here is one of many examples in which researchers identify a possible target mechanism for further development.
Researchers found that mice with persistently increased levels of autophagy – the process a
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