Have you ever wondered what it takes to live a long and healthy life? A recent study by Italian researchers may have the answer. They discovered that individuals who live well into their 90s and beyond commonly have a version of a gene called BPIFB4 that protects against cardiovascular damage and keeps the heart in good shape for a longer period of time. By introducing the mutated gene into older mice, the scientists have seen how the variant rewinds markers of biological heart aging by the equivalent of more than 10 human years.
In a groundbreaking study, researchers at the IRCCS Multimedica Group in Italy have identified a gene variant that could be the key to a longer and healthier life. The gene, called BPIFB4, is already associated with longevity in people and is frequently found in individuals who live longer than normal, including those in their late 90s and beyond. The team tested this gene variant on both mice and human heart cells in a laboratory setting, and the results were remarkable.
In middle-aged mice, the therapy was shown to halt the decline of heart function. In elderly patients with severe heart problems, the gene was added to their heart cells in the laboratory and was found to rejuvenate the cells, making them more efficient in building new blood vessels. This suggests that mutations in protein-encoding genes play an important role in maintaining pericyte cells and keeping the heart functioning well for longer.
The researchers are now interested in determining if giving the protein instead of the gene can also work. This could be adapted as a therapy for people whose parents haven’t lived to a grand old age, and who are experiencing heart issues. In the future, clinical trials could be used to see if the same sort of preventative effects happen in humans too.
This exciting research has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of heart health and longevity. By unlocking the secrets of the BPIFB4 gene, we may be able to extend our lifespans and live healthier, longer lives.