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Age-Reversing Metabolite Interests Mars Mission

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University of NSW researchers have identified a critical step in the molecular process that allows cells to repair damaged DNA. Their experiments in mice, published in Science, suggest a treatment for DNA damage from ageing and radiation. This has attracted the attention of NASA, which believes the treatment can help its Mars mission.

The scientists identified that the metabolite NAD+, which is naturally present in every cell of our body, mediates the interaction between two enzymes that control a cell’s ability to repair DNA. DBC1 binds to PARP1 outside the nucleus and prevents it from repairing DNA. However, NAD+ breaks up this interaction, enabling PARP1 to fulfil its role in DNA repair.

However, NAD levels decline with age, and hence the ability to repair DNA declines with age. The researchers found that treating old or irradiated mice with the NAD+ “booster” NMN freed up PARP1 to repair DNA. “The cells of the old mice were indistinguishable from the young mice after just 1 week of treatment,” said lead author Prof David Sinclair.

For the past 4 years, Sinclair and Dr Lindsay Wu have been working to make NMN into a drug, with human trials to begin this year at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. They had already established that NAD+ could be useful for treating various diseases of ageing, female infertility and the side-effects of...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.