November 27, 2008, 9:22 pm
Red wine for a healthier, longer life?
A constitient of red wine, resveratrol, can improve the health and life span of mice by activating proteins known as sirtuins that restore the structure of ageing chromosomes.
[International Herald Tribune]
Resveratrol is a phytoalexin (antibiotic) produced by some plants when they are under attack by fungi or bacteria.
Resveratrol activates proteins in the mouse cells, called sirtuins, which control the genes being turned on or off in the chromosomes:
When sirtuins bind to the DNA to keep it tightly packed into chromosomes, the gene is turned OFF, but if the sirtuins leave their position, for example to go to repair a broken piece of DNA (which happens more often in older cells), then the gene is turned ON, causing many problems in the cell... and ageing!
The big questions now are whether sirtuins have a similar role in the ageing of humans - and if so, could synthetic sirtuins slow down ageing?