Posted on 9 March 2020
A study published Cell Metabolism has identified a naturally occurring compound that reduced stem cell senescence in the hypothalamus, and was associated with less age-related decline.
The hypothalamus is a small brain region with many important functions, including control of hormone release and food intake. More recently, the hypothalamus has been found to play a role in the ageing process. Hypothalamic stem cells – which have the ability to develop into a number of more specialised cells – are lost with age, as they enter an inactive state known as senescence.
Researchers were able to identify an RNA molecule, called Hnscr, which declines with age, leading to stem cell senescence. Once they understood which protein Hnscr was binding, researchers used molecular modelling to find other molecules that would bind to the same target. They discovered that theaflavin-3 gallate, found naturally in black tea, mimics the action of Hnscr.
They then gave the compound to middle-aged mice, and found that it not only reduced stem cell senescence, but also reduced behavioural and reproductive decline, while improving insulin sensitivity and bone density. This treatment did not seem to have any adverse effects.
TF2A could act as a lead compound in the design of newXiao YZ, e. (2020). Reducing Hypothalamic Stem Cell Senescence Protects against Aging-Associated Physiological Decline. – PubMed – NCBI . Retrieved 9 March 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32004475
drugs that protect htNSC senescence and ameliorate some
aspect of aging-related comorbidities. Taken together, this study
revealed that the Hnscr–YB-1 signaling axis is critical for htNSC
senescence and healthy aging of mice, and enhancement of this
pathway could potentially offer a benefit during the aging
Previous studies have reported multiple beneficial effects of theaflavins, including antioxidant properties and the reduction of LDL cholesterol. As for tea drinking, studies have reported longevity effects of tea consumption, though the evidence for this relationship in coffee drinking is stronger. While some studies suggest green tea may contain more potent antioxidants than black tea, the evidence does not clearly favour either drink.
Reducing Hypothalamic Stem Cell Senescence Protects against Aging-Associated Physiological Decline: doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2020.01.002.
Cholesterol-Lowering Effect of a Theaflavin-Enriched Green Tea Extract A Randomized Controlled Trial: doi:10.1001/archinte.163.12.1448