A gene capable of predicting cancer and memory impairment in the elderly has been studied

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The CDKN2A gene, which plays a key role in the aging process, shows a similar pattern of activity in canine tissues as in humans, according to a recent study by ELTE researchers. Thus, the gene may be useful in accurately estimating biological age and predicting the development of certain age-related diseases in dogs.

According to the Eötvös Loránd University, these are the first genetic results of the ELTE Department of Ethology’s dog brain research. The genetic test was created with the help of the Dog Brain and Tissue Bank, founded in 2017 and unique in the world. The results were published by researchers in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science, and the Tissue Bank will be presented in GeroScience soon.

According to the summary biobanks, which collect organ and tissue samples, are essential for research into diseases and biological processes. Banks serving human medical research have a serious literature and methodology, but samples from animals are collected mainly for breeding and farming purposes. “When we won a five-year tender to research the aging of dogs in 2016, we thought that during that time, the lives of more of the older dogs we’ve come to know would inevitably end for natural reasons. If farmers offered their deceased dog for research purposes, we could create a unique collection in the world, because behavioral and dog-keeping data can also be attached to biological samples, ”the communication Enikő Kubinyi, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Ethology, Eötvös Loránd University, Head of the Senior Family Dog Program, who also reported that Kálmán Czeibert, a veterinarian with unparalleled knowledge of dog brain anatomy, also joined the study.

The bank currently stores more than 130 dog brains, including skin and muscle tissue samples. “Short postmortem sampling within four hours allows for gene expression studies because we can also preserve rapidly degrading RNA intact,” he explains. Sándor Sára, geneticist.

The group’s summary study on biobanks and the methodological procedures of the new Hungarian bank will be published in the journal GeroScience. “We were also surprised at how much the reviewers welcomed our article. Probably because few chinchial species are known to develop dementia in old age under natural conditions, but the dog is one of them. Our four-legged peers can also become our best friends in aging research, ”he adds.

CDKN2A plays an important role in preventing the development of cancerous tumors by forcing damaged or mutant cells into a so-called “senescent” state that is unable to divide. This cellular inhibitory effect also plays a prominent role in the natural aging of tissues. There is a particularly significant increase in CDKN2A activity, termed gene expression, in aging brain tissue, especially if a neurodegenerative process (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease) is also detected. “Because of all this, CDKN2A seemed to be an ideal candidate for studies comparing the aging of dogs and humans,” adds Sára Sándor.

The study examined the frontal lobes, skeletal muscle tissue, and skin of the brains of 26 dogs of various breeds. Revealed that the older a dog is, the higher the CDKN2A expression in his brain and muscle tissue. However, no similar association was found in the skin. “Because the degree of correlation also depends on tissue type in human samples, it appears that CDKN2A may play a similar role in the two species,” they point out.

Increased levels of the gene in old age may reduce the chances of cells that are already aged or damaged turning into cancerous tumors. Without CDKN2A and other similar genes, cancer in old age would probably be even more common, they write. “CDKN2A is therefore a promising biomarker, a good indicator of the progress of the aging process. But it can only be of clinical significance if it is easily accessible, for example through blood sampling. ” – stands in the report. Therefore, in the next step, the researchers compared blood samples from living, healthy dogs, seven young and eight elderly border collies. A similar association was found: CDKN2A levels were higher in older dogs. The association between CDKN2A levels and age in certain tissue types in both mixed and purebred groups suggests that dogs undergo human-like cellular aging processes in the brain and muscles.

In the ELTE biobank, Hungarian researchers work together with American, Czech and Swedish researchers. Research is also planned into neurodegeneration such as Alzheimer’s disease and changes related to domestication and breeding. – is clear from the ELTE communication.


Source: Patika Magazin Online by www.patikamagazin.hu.

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