Some of the damaging effects of ageing could be stopped by the manipulation of cells, according to new research.
The scientists’ work is said to have shed light on how the harm caused by senescence – a process that plays a key role in diseases of getting older – could be controlled or prevented.
Researchers say the findings could have relevance for age-related diseases including cancers and diabetes, although they caution further research is needed.
Lead author of the study Professor Wendy Bickmore, of the University of Edinburgh, said: “These findings provide us with a much clearer understanding of how senescence causes cell damage.
“Whilst we are some way from being able to halt the damage caused by the ageing process, we hope that this advance will open up avenues to explore how we might slow some of the harm that stems from senescence.
“This could be of relevance to the many conditions that tend to affect us as we grow older.”
During senescence, cells stop dividing so can be beneficial in assisting wound-healing and preventing excessive growth.
But some aspects of the process are also harmful and can lead to tissue damage and the deterioration of cell health, seen in diseases of older age.
Researchers showed manipulating a cell’s nuclear pores prevented triggering these damaging effects.
They say the study sheds light on the fundamental workings of the cell and could be instrumental in understanding cell ageing.