COUNCIL CHRONICLE – Recently, Dr. Douglas Vaughan of Northwestern University performed a study on a small Amish community in Indiana. Dr. Vaughan and his team ran tests on 177 Amish folks to learn more about a rare gene mutation and its effects. Those who carried the mutated gene lived, on average, to the age of 85, which was significantly higher than their predicted lifespan of 71.
About the Amish Gene Mutation
The gene is called SERPINE1. It affects a protein in the body called plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1) which is produced by fat. This protein may have an effect on diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease. By limiting the production of the PAI-1 protein, the SERPINE1 gene may be able to slow down aging and reduce the risk of other age-related disorders.
“This is a rare genetic mutation that appears to protect against biological ageing in humans,” stated Dr. Vaughan.
Dr. Vaughan’s team conducted genetic tests on the small population in Indiana. They also tested and analyzed their heart and lung function. The team found a difference in the DNA of the individuals who carried the SERPINE1 gene, which was linked to cellular aging. Out of 177 people, 43 people were noted to carry the gene mutation. The subjects who carried the gene had lower PAI-1 levels and were overall healthier than the those who did not carry the SERPINE1 gene.
Dr. Vaughan stated that researchers could develop an anti-aging medication that works the same way as the gene mutation in this community, by inhibiting the production of the PAI-1 protein.
Dr. Toshio Miyat from Tohuku University in Japan has already developed a PAI-1 inhibitor and has begun testing on human subjects. Dr. Vaughan has filed paperwork to begin a clinical trial of the inhibitor in the United States and could start the trials next year. He also stated that he would like to expand the study of this gene mutation on more people.
Current study findings are available in the journal Science Advances.
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