GENERICO.ruScienceThe whole body withers. Causes that accelerate aging revealed

The whole body withers. Causes that accelerate aging revealed

MOSCOW, October 15, Salma Sultanova. Scientists are devoting more and more research to chronic inflammation, which usually goes unnoticed in the body and causes various diseases. According to a popular hypothesis, it also accelerates aging. What kind of condition is this and how to deal with it – in the material .

Shield of the body

Our immune system naturally responds to external stimuli by causing inflammation. Cells of the immune system, various cytokines and proteins, including acute phase proteins, are responsible for it. When the body faces a threat, these substances, with the help of neutrophils and macrophages, begin to form an immune response and repair damaged tissue. The process lasts no more than six weeks and is called acute inflammation.

“Inflammation is actually a protective reflex, accompanied by pain, redness, swelling, heat and dysfunction. It occurs whenever the body is subjected to chemical, biological, thermal or physical attack. For example, if we hit our knee, it begins to hurt, slight swelling and redness appear, the temperature rises locally and function is impaired – it hurts to move the knee. Special nerves send a signal that this is not worth doing for now,” says Mikhail Bolkov, senior researcher at the Institute of Immunology and Physiology of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Candidate of Medical Sciences.

According to the expert, it’s the same with bacteria and viruses. The immune system quickly recognizes their penetration into the body and gives the command to eliminate the pathogen.

“When the virus gets into the nose, there is an immediate influx of blood, along with which white blood cells arrive. Redness begins, the temperature rises, the affected area swells. The function of the organ is impaired: the sense of smell decreases, mucus is released. Without normal inflammation, a person will die. Or the body will kill itself , or the microbe will do it,” notes the immunologist.

When the shield turns into a sword

Acute inflammation is controlled and allows for effective protection at a critical moment. However, sometimes the cycle, instead of ending, begins in a new, albeit weaker form. It can last for months, or even a lifetime. This condition is called chronic inflammation.

“It exhausts the body very much. Tissue in the area of ​​chronic inflammation loses its function and begins to deteriorate. This often leads to oncological transformation. For example, statistically, the Japanese suffer from esophageal cancer more than others. This is due to the fact that they more often consume fish, the bones of which injure the esophageal mucosa,” explains Bolkov.

How inflammation ages the body

Low-grade chronic inflammation is usually observed only in older people. One of the reasons for its appearance is a set of molecules produced by senescent cells (SASP). It weakens immune cells, which can no longer clear the body of waste products and inflammatory factors. The condition is characterized by increased levels of pro-inflammatory markers in the blood, including interleukin 1 receptor antagonist, interleukins 1, 6, 8, 13,18, C-reactive protein, interferons alpha-2b and beta-1a, transforming growth factor beta, tumor necrosis factor and serum amyloid Aprotein . They even came up with a term for this kind of inflammation – inflammasome.

Some proinflammatory cytokines are known to attenuate insulin and erythropoietin signaling, leading to the development of sarcopenia, which is the loss of skeletal muscle mass and muscle function. With this syndrome, a person often feels tired and cannot perform physical activity. Sarcopenia can sometimes lead to death.

Last year, an international team of scientists suggested that chronic inflammation interferes with the self-renewal of hematopoietic stem cells and accelerates their aging. The fact is that during inflammation they switch to aerobic respiration, during which reactive oxygen species (ROS) begin to be released. The stress they accumulate damages the DNA of stem cells, which reduces their function.
Inflaming may also trigger neuroinflammation, a major cause of brain aging. Excessive production of pro-inflammatory mediators has been shown to reduce the production of BDNF and IGF-1, molecules responsible for brain plasticity. This impairs various cognitive functions: it reduces the speed of information processing, reduces working memory capacity and plasticity, and impairs spatial memory. Ultimately, everything can lead to disorders of the central nervous system – for example, Alzheimer's or Parkinson's diseases, stroke.
Scientists from the UK and the Netherlands have shown that chronic inflammation aggravates telomere dysfunction in mice, impairs the regenerative potential of animal tissues and accelerates their aging. The same work noted that with the help of inhibitors of the COX-2 enzyme, the above functions were restored.

What science offers

American experts have found that with age, macrophages lose the ability to capture and absorb calcium, without which signal transmission to intracellular structures and molecules is impossible. Lack of calcium leads to chronic inflammation. The authors claim that if calcium uptake by macrophages is activated, the pathological process can be avoided and, accordingly, the risk of neurodegenerative and cardiometabolic diseases can be reduced. This opens the way for a new class of anti-aging drugs.

Recently, an international team of researchers discovered that the molecular signaling pathway cGAS/STING plays a leading role in the development of chronic inflammation, helping to fight various infections. It turned out that blocking the STING protein suppresses inflammation in aging human cells and tissues. It also reduced inflammation in peripheral organs and the brain of mice and improved tissue function.
Proposes another model for combating chronic inflammation. The other day, a study was published in Nature that said that mitochondria living in old cells eventually begin to “leak” and lose DNA, which leads to this condition.
“We were able to find a link between mitochondria and the inflammatory effects of old cells. We found that mitochondrial permeabilization (changes in the permeability of the cell membrane – editor's note) – a process inextricably linked with cell death – promotes inflammation in old and damaged cells. This will help create new treatments to combat aging and cancer,” says Stephen Tate, professor at the University of Glasgow and co-author of the study.

This is the drug route solutions to the problem, but more and more scientists are talking about prevention. Natalia Gavrilova, neurologist at the N. I. Pirogov Clinic of High Medical Technologies at St. Petersburg State University, assistant at the Department of Faculty Therapy at St. Petersburg State University, is confident that a healthy lifestyle helps control systemic inflammation.

“Adipose tissue secretes a lot of pro-inflammatory substances. Its excess in the body always causes severe inflammation and provokes the development of diseases. Intestinal microflora also plays an important role in the occurrence of inflammation. Five to six kilograms of microorganisms live in it, which can be both anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory “, says the expert.
According to Natalia Gavrilova, anti-inflammatory lacto- and bifidobacteria help reduce inflammation in the body.
“It is important to maintain and restore them, because the older a person is, the more inflammatory processes he has, which lacto- and bifidobacteria remove. But these are probiotics, and they also need food. Therefore, along with probiotics, it is also recommended to consume prebiotics.”
The doctor adds that chronic stress and illness are involved in the occurrence of inflammation.
“Stress is an absolutely normal phenomenon, it even helps keep the body in good shape. However, it must begin and then end, give a break. There is even a theory that inflammation is trying to limit your stress levels,” says Gavrilova.
In addition, don’t neglect quality sleep and exercise to help relax your muscles. This will help relieve constant pain and reduce stress.

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