Restricting calories has long been recognized as a means to enhance overall health and extend lifespan. However, the mechanisms through which it achieves these effects, particularly in terms of safeguarding brain health, have remained largely elusive. A recent study examining the effects of dietary restriction on aging and neurodegenerative brain diseases has yielded promising results.
Researchers at Buck Institute for Research on Aging have made significant strides in uncovering insights in this area. Their work has shed light on the crucial role of a gene known as OXR1, which is not only necessary for the lifespan extension observed with dietary restriction but also plays a vital role in promoting healthy brain aging.
The team conducted a study that revealed a cellular mechanism explaining how dietary restriction can effectively delay aging and mitigate the advancement of neurodegenerative diseases. Through experiments on fruit flies and human cells, they also identified possible therapeutic targets to slow down aging and age-related neurodegenerative conditions.
The team selected a specific gene, known as “mustard” (mtd) in fruit flies and “Oxidation Resistance 1” (OXR1) in humans and mice, to conduct a thorough investigation. This gene plays a crucial role in safeguarding cells from oxidative damage. However, the exact mechanism by which this gene operates remained unclear. In humans, the absence of OXR1 leads to severe neurological impairments and premature mortality. Conversely, the presence of additional OXR1 in mice enhances survival in an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) model.
The study discovered a response that specifically occurs in neurons, which is responsible for the neuroprotective effects of dietary restriction. Strategies like intermittent fasting or caloric restriction, which restrict nutrient intake, may elevate the levels of this particular gene to activate its protective properties.
Restricting food intake often leads people to contemplate its impact on their digestive system or fat accumulation, failing to recognize its influence on the brain. Interestingly, this is where this crucial gene comes into play. The diet’s influence on the gene is noteworthy. When you consume fewer calories, it actually promotes the mechanism of efficient protein sorting in your cells. This occurs as your cells increase the expression of OXR1.
From this analysis, we can gain insight into the factors contributing to brain degeneration. It is important to recognize that diet plays a crucial role in all bodily processes. This study further reinforces the significance of adopting a nutritious diet, as it has far-reaching effects beyond our comprehension.
To view the original scientific study click below:
OXR1 maintains the retromer to delay brain aging under dietary restriction