Anti aging - cell aging

The regenerative and reparative potential of adult, autologous stem cells is today applied in preventive, anti-aging or burnout therapy. Aim of this treatment is a renewal of old cell material, a delay of the aging-process and the activation and stabilization of the regenerative capacity of the body. 

In order to understand this new preventive approaches, it is important to understand why we become ill or why we age.  Below we have listed a number of the most current findings and theses regarding cellular aging.

Why we age – latest scientific theses

When 23 maternal chromosomes unify with 23 paternal chromosomes into a new cell with 46 chromosomes we call it insemination and the newly developed, unique cell is called zygote. A zygote is the primal stem cell of human life. Its division potential is as immeasurable, as is the universe we live in. This single cell creates an entire human being that consists of 75 billion cells. In each second approximately 50 million cells die in our body, while 50 million new cells come into existence. The natural cycle of life and death occurs in the microcosm of the cell and its properties.

A single cell is the basic module of the human body. The various accomplishments of a single cell are based on its specific genetic information. This information is stored within the genetic code of the cell and contains the entire program for maintaining an organism like cell reproduction and synthesis of proteins. Proteins are the most important building and operating material of cells and assume vital functions. Of outstanding relevancy are proteins that operate the metabolic processes of an organism as biocatalysts, these proteins are called enzymes. Anything that a cell requires in order to survive – proteins, fats, and carbohydrates – is synthesized by means of these enzyme-proteins. The cells of all living organisms contain a genetically determined code that governs their function. During cell division this code is copied on both newly build cells. Disruption of cell functions can occur, if cell duplication is not carried out precisely. Genes are arranged linear on the chromosomes – like a pearl necklace - each one has their exactly defined position and structure.

Scientists – specialists in human genetics or cell biologists – from around the world have been researching, discussing and presenting their theories regarding the coherence of cellular operations to the process of aging:

The mitochondrion-thesis

Mitochondria are small generating-plants of the cell; up to 1000 mitochondria swim in the cell plasma of one cell and convert food into energy. The by-products of this conversion are the so-called free radicals, which can, in part, damage the cell and cause it to age. Scientists like Alessandro Prigione and James Adjaye at the Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin have examined the influence of stem cells on this aging process. They have presented their outcome at the magazine Science: Mitochondria, the generating-plants of the cells can be reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells and thus be rejuvenated.

The free radicals-thesis

Non-stabile free radicals can cause devastating damage to the cell; they damage the cell nucleus as well as the DNA. Dr. Paul Doetsch and his staff at the Emory University in Atlanta have been researching the reparative mechanisms that could reduce the damage caused by free radicals. The aim of this study is to see if protective proteins can indeed stop or decelerate the aging process.

The genetics-thesis

The quest for the longevity-gene and genes that could protect us from age related diseases is in full swing.  For the past 10 years scientist have been tracking another thesis. Here they assume that damage of the genes in the cell cause aging processes, however, the mechanism is still unknown. Prof. Jan Hoeimakers, director of the institute for genetics at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam and his colleagues have found out that a collapse of the DNA repair system plays a major role in aging and presented the outcome in the British paper Science. During their trial they intercepted the repair mechanisms in mice-genes and by doing so simulated a known gene defect in humans, that causes premature aging. The mice with this gene alteration aged much faster than their siblings.

The protein-thesis

According to Dr. Young-Ki Paik, president of the Korean Human Proteome Organization (KHUPO), 98 % of all diseases originate in defective proteins. If one wants to understand the biochemical background of life, he needs to seek the genetic blueprint in the double helix of the DNA. Each gene contains a manual for the assembly of 5 – 100 variations of one or various proteins. Each one of these proteins assumes different responsibilities. The research of cell-proteins will provide a better understanding about growth, maturing, aging, diseases and death. Mutations or malfunctions of proteins lead to a performance deficit of cells and can lead to diseases and cellular necrosis.

The chromosome-telomere-thesis

The span of molecular life - according to Dr. Jerry W. Shay and his colleagues at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical – depends on the telomeres, a region of repetitive DNA located at the end sections of the chromosomes. After birth each new cell division shrinks the telomere by approximately 50 DNS blocks. Today this shrinkage of the telomeres is blamed to cause dementia, immune deficiency, arteriosclerosis and other age related diseases. In 1985 US scientists Carol Greider and Elisabeth Blackburn discovered an enzyme by the name telomerase, which was able to stop or slow down the shrinkage of the telomeres. Likewise a biological fountain of youth, this enzyme provides immortality to a few, selected cells. “Only an embryo contains telomerase in all of his cells -” explained age researcher Shaw “it disappears prior to birth from most body cells. Later telomerase can only be built in the germ cells of the testicles, in the mesenchymal stem cells and the haematopoietic stem cells of the bone marrow.”

The stem cell-thesis

All above-mentioned theses can – combined- deal as an explanatory model regarding the reparative, regenerative function and transformative capacity of adult stem cells.