Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found that Klotho, an anti-aging and anti-cancer protein, is reduced in the aged brain. The study, led by Carmela Abraham, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry at BUSM, identified compounds that increase Klotho expression in cultured cells. To do so, they conducted a high throughput screen of 150,000 molecules, which led to the identification of three lead compounds. The compounds could lead to the prevention of age-related diseases and overall healthier aging. The study was published in a recent issue of the journal Age.
In a parallel study they found that, in the older brains, the DNA encoding for Klotho was modified in such a way that it could not be made into a functional protein. The lack of Klotho has been shown to be detrimental to the entire organism and could lead to the development of a variety of diseases. Similar modifications have been found to occur in individuals with various types of cancer, where Klotho levels are also reduced, but not in people who are aging healthfully. The research team compared the DNA portion of the Klotho gene that controls its expression in brains in young and old animals. “Knowing the reason why Klotho decreases with age gives us the opportunity to identify compounds that can bring Klotho back to the healthy levels found in young individuals,” said Abraham. The study was published in the Biochemical Journal.