Functions of longevity genes (Telomere)

03/01/2023

Doctor's health advice

I would like to talk about prime aging and longevity genes.
Telomere is one kind of genes that is associated with longevity. We first need to have knowledge about how human bodies are maintained, as a premise to understand what telomere is. A human body is made up of about 37 trillion cells on average through the whole life time. Among them, about 1% of these cells, approximately 200 billion cells die, and are replaced with new cells every day. Bodies of many living things, including human beings, are maintained by this process. Chromosomes play a key role in creating cells. They exist in the nucleus of cells, storing genetic information that are indispensable for cell proliferation. They are as if a blueprint for construction since cells are created based on this information. However, cell proliferation is discontinued at a certain point of the lifetime, and when it happens may be different according individual cells. Telomere is deeply involved in how many times cells are divided. 

It has been found that telomeres stick to both ends of chromosomes, which are like plastic covers that bundle shoelaces. Telomere DNA becomes shorter little by little at each cell division. Then subsequently cells become unable to be divided any more, and finally die. This can be called "aging of the cell." Telomeres, are also called as if" coupon tickets for a lifetime", which are deeply associated with development of serious diseases such as cancer, arteriosclerosis, and myocardial infarction. I would like to cite an example; when cells are damaged by ultraviolet rays which sometimes trigger skin cancer, or by tobacco which may cause cancer, cell divisions become active in order to replace damaged cells with new ones. As a result, telomeres in these cells become shorter in less time. Cells become unstable once they lose telomeres, and may be connected to other chromosomes. Alcoholic hepatitis progresses to liver cirrhosis, and eventually to liver cancer in this process. Telomeres in patients with cancer or other diseases tend to be shorter. However, people whose telomeres are shorter don't necessarily suffer from cancer. Additionally, it has been clarified that our bodies also have enzyme called telomerase, however, unfortunately no reliable way to activate telomeres to lengthen telomeres have been found. Although telomere is attracting a great attention as an indicator to measure aging status in anti-aging medicine societies, further studies and researches are required to apply this mechanism in clinical practices.

We conduct researches on genes related to aging in the laboratory of our hospital. We would like to develop a technology to evaluate the biological age of patients, and to objectively measure effects of anti-aging supplements including ImunoBran


Midori Meshitsuka M.D.

M Regenerative Clinic Director

2008 Graduated from Peking University Health Science Center (China)
2009 Obtained Chinese medical license
2014 Obtained Japanese medical license
2019 M Regenerative Clinic Director
Dr. Midori completed her internship at Harvard medical school Massachusetts General Hospital and Peking University Third Hospital. She then worked at the University of Tokyo Hospital, Tokyo Women's medical University. In 2019 she joined her family practice, established M Regenerative Clinic as Director.