There are special kinds of gut bacteria which can increase the lifespan in microscopic worms, the researchers have found. They’ve concluded that supplements containing these bacteria can help slow down the ageing process in human beings as well. Dr Meng Wang, associate professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor and the Huffington Center and one of the authors of the study said, “'The scientific community is increasingly aware that our body's interactions with the millions of microbes in our bodies, the microbiome, can influence many of our functions… In this work we investigated whether the genetic composition of the microbiome might also be important for longevity.”
The researchers studied a transparent microscopic laboratory worm that is as long as a pinhead and shared certain characteristics with human biology, during which they found that in its three week long lifespan it feeds on bacteria, turns into an adult, reproduces and progressively ages and dies.
So to study the effect of individual bacterial genes on the lifespan of the worm, Dr Wang joined Dr Christophe Herman, associate professor of molecular and human genetics and molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor, and other colleagues who are experts in bacterial genetics and studied the effects of each gene in E.coli bacteria ‘library’ by deleting one gene from each of 4,000 genes at a time.
‘We fed C.elegans each individual mutant bacteria and then looked at the worms' life span,' Dr Wang said adding that it increased the worms’ lifespan.
Further experiment also showed that some of the gene-deleted bacteria increased lifespan by acting on some of the worm's known biological processes linked to aging. Other 'mutant bacteria' tested increased lifespan by over-producing a carbohydrate molecule called colanic acid. When the researchers gave pure colanic acid to the worms, they also lived longer.
Colanic acid also increase lifespan in lab fruit flies and mammalian cells grown in the lab. Based on their findings, the researchers suggest that it might be possible to design supplements of bacteria or their compounds that could slow the aging process.
(With ANI Inputs)