Resilience to aging in the regeneration-capable flatworm Macrostomum lignano
This study by the Berezikov Group focusses on the ageing process of the free-living, sexual flatworm Macrostomum lignano. Due to their large regenerative capacity and high cellular turnover during homeostasis, flatworms might age very different than humans. A popular hypothesis, for example, is that regeneration of the body might reverse ageing. Conclusive evidence for this theory is, however, lacking. By studying different characteristics, the authors demonstrated that whole-body regeneration does not result in rejuvenation in M. lignano. However, analysis of gene-expression as a function of age confirmed that M. lignano is indeed very different from the commonly used ageing model organisms. For example, genes essential for stem cell function and genes with known beneficial effects on lifespan have a naturally increased expression at old age in this flatworm. This suggests that M. lignano could have evolved molecular mechanisms for offsetting negative consequences of ageing, making it a novel powerfull model for the exploration of anti-aging strategies.
Mouton S.*, Grudniewska M.*, Glazenburg L., Guryev V., Berezikov E. (2018). Resilience to aging in the regeneration-capable flatworm Macrostomum lignano. Aging Cell 2018; e12739
* Contributed equally to this work.
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