From reversing wrinkles to making it so they don't happen in the first place, society has become obsessed with the idea of preventing and undoing the signs of aging. While many have gone on the quest for finding the answer to a permanently youthful complexion, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham may have discovered the solution and published it in the Cell Death & Disease peer reviewed journal.
The researchers discovered that a gene mutation called mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) depletion is what causes wrinkled skin and hair loss. The group sought to define the role that mtDNA depletion plays in aging by creating an inducible mouse.
The scientists performed histological and immunohistochemical analyses, reverse transcript polymerase chain reaction and mtDNA content analyses, Blue Native Polyacrylamide Gel Electrophoresis and western blot analyses, enzymatic activities of oxidative phosphorylation complexes analysis, Transmission electron microscopy and statistical analyses. Each of these allowed the group of researchers to measure different ways that the mtDNA could be blocked to reduce the signs of wrinkled skin and hair loss.
When the researchers were able to turn off the gene mutation, the mouse in the experiment would return to their normal appearance. This led to the conclusion of a strong link between mitochondrial dysfunction, mitochondrial diseases, aging and aging-associated diseases being discovered. Mitochondrial dysfunction is also implicated in both intrinsic and extrinsic forms of aging.
An expert from the paper published in Cell Death & Disease explained how "The major finding of our study is that the ubiquitous depletion of mtDNA predominantly leads to wrinkled skin and hair loss accompanied by inflammatory phenotype...We discovered that these aging-associated phenotypic changes could be reversed by restoring mtDNA content to wild-type level. To our knowledge this observation is unprecedented."