Researchers from the University of Alabama reverse the signs of ageing in mice by restoring the mitochondria in their DNA
Scientists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) have discovered a new method to reverse hair loss and skin wrinkling in mice.
As part of the test, mice were induced with a mitochondrial dysfunction, causing hair loss and skin wrinkling, typically associated with ageing.
The function was then restored by turning off the gene responsible for mitochondrial dysfunction and - in a matter of weeks - the effects were seen to be reversed.
“This mouse model should provide an unprecedented opportunity for the development of preventive and therapeutic drug development strategies to augment the mitochondrial functions for the treatment of ageing-associated skin and hair pathology, “ said Keshav Singh, a global leader in the field of mitochondria research and Professor at UAB.
According to the research, little change was found in the other organs of the mice after the mutations were induced, suggesting mitochondria plays an important role in skin ageing compared with other tissues.
When induced with the mitochondrial dysfunction, the skin showed an increased number of cells, abnormal thickening of the outer layer, dysfunctional hair follicles and increased inflammation, contributing to wrinkling.
It also displayed an imbalance between matrix and metalloproteinase enzymes, which are needed for the preservation of collagen fibres.
Singh added: “Further experiments are required to determine whether phenotypic changes in other organs can also be reversed to wild type level by restoration of mitochondrial DNA.”
This dysfunction of mitochondria is also known to cause cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, age-associated neurological disorders and cancers.