Study to investigate molecular mechanisms involved in animal and human aging
The molecular mechanisms involved in regulating longevity have not been determined. New experiments with life-extending dietary interventions are set to identify the signal paths involved across species, with the aim of prolonging lifespan and improving quality of life in humans.
Planned dietary restrictions with a 25-40% reduction in food intake can extend lifespan and protect against metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity, as well as cancer, cardiovascular disease and other age-related complications in insects and rodents.
In recent years, Augusto Peluso MSc PhD and a research group at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research at the University of Copenhagen have been studying the effects of different dietary interventions on animals and humans. From this, they have developed a method of determining biologically relevant signal paths that are affected by dietary changes and nutritional supplements. Peluso will use this method in a postdoctoral project to detect and compare new molecular networks regulating the lifespan-extending and metabolic benefits of dietary changes and nutritional supplements both within and between species.
‘This project represents a unique initiative to determine the molecular effects of different dietary interventions in multiple species. Our analysis of different species will provide evidence to show how relevant and safe these dietary interventions are and whether they should be used on humans’, says Augusto Peluso, who has been awarded DKK 1.2 million by the Danish Diabetes Academy for the project.
New signal paths expected to be identified
The expectation is that the analysis will also identify new molecular signal paths that can affect healthy aging across the evolutionary spectrum. This will contribute to the scientific understanding of aging and metabolic disease, and shed more light on the mechanisms underlying dietary interventions. The genes and signal paths identified may also pave the way for the development of new research areas, new biomarkers or new drugs to treat age-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
‘From a public health point of view, these or similar dietary interventions can benefit hundreds of millions of people and help reduce the growing costs associated with the constantly aging population. Public health initiatives are expensive, and the results are hard to predict, so there is great commercial, economic and health potential in identifying new, safer interventions that prolong healthy life and prevent age-related complications’, explains Augusto Peluso, who took his Master’s degree in Brazil and came to Denmark in connection with his PhD project at the University of Southern Denmark in 2015.
The studies and analyses will be carried out under the supervision of Associate Professor Jonas Thue Treebak at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research at the University of Copenhagen, and will include a visit to the University of Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Jonas Thue Treebak’s research group has been collaborating with the Brazilian university since 2014.
By Pernille Fløjstrup Andersen, Communications Officer, DDA
Augusto Peluso, medical doctor and PhD
Has been awarded DKK 1.2 million by the Danish Diabetes Academy.
Postdoctoral project title: Identification of Metabolic and Lifespan Biomarkers Regulated by Dietary Intervention Mimetics Across Species
Research centres: Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen / University of Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Contact: +45 8174 1275
Contact Danish Diabetes Academy
Managing Director Tore Christiansen
Phone: +45 2964 6764