Mice identified a single Hormone that can help increase lifespan

Mice identified a single Hormone that can help increase lifespan ...

Low-protein foods may have significant benefits for rodents, fruit flies, and yeast''s health and lifespan.

A new research on mice has now identified a single hormone that is essential for these unusual anti-aging effects.

The hormone is called fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) and it is secreted by the liver.

Studies have shown that FGF21 has been successful in reducing body weight and protein requirements in male rats.

Either way, a same group of researchers has found that FGF21 is required for both anti-aging activities.

"Indeed, mice that are deficient in FGF21 are not only resistant to the health [benefits] of [protein restriction], but they also exhibit early-onset weight loss, increased frailty, and reduced lifespan when fed a low-protein diet," authors said.

The following findings suggest that protein restriction''s pro-longevity effects are dependent on a single hormone that is also present in humans.

The validity of FGF21''s role in our own species is unknown, yet studies on humans suggest that diets low in protein and high in carbohydrates may have similar benefits for metabolic health. These macronutrients also have an influence on circulating FGF21.

Researchers at the University of Missouri are able to help scientists better understand the role this hormone plays in the body.

When male mice had their FGF21 gene knocked out and then became fed a low-protein diet, their natural lifespan was reduced compared to normal mice fed the same diet.

The mice with the FGF21 gene generally became larger and less lean. Researchers claim they had "completely lost" their tolerance for glucose as these mice naturally evolved, however they also began to lose weight much earlier, becoming frailer than those who had their FGF21 genes intact.

Researchers say adult mice who produced FGF21 looked healthier and more physically robust on a long-term low-protein diet. Their coats were not as shabby or patchy as mice without the FGF21 gene.

Protein restriction reduces bleakness in normal mice as they age, and this process is controlled via the FGF21 signaling pathway.

FGF21 has a slew of functions, but is well known to regulate sugar intake, and the way this hormone responds to certain macronutrients has an impact on the brain.

Long-term low-protein diets stimulate FGF21 activation in the mouse brain, allowing individuals to select foods that are less fat and carbohydrates, and higher in protein when given multiple options.

"Our findings suggest that FGF21 refers to the brain, and that, without this signal, the mouse does not ''know'' that it is eating a low-protein diet. "The mouse therefore fails to adaptively alter its metabolism or feeding behavior," says a neuroscientist at Louisiana State University.

The findings offer a prospective explanation for why restricted protein intake can prolong mice''s lifespan. However, this study was only focused on male animals. Female mice may not have a similar reaction to their diets.

The results are the first to establish a single hormone that controls for the beneficial effects of a low-protein diet.

Nature Communications has published the research.

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