Mice in space help to slow aging

An experiment on mice shows that the Nrf2 protein could slow aging in people. It might be used against Alzheimer and diabetes, as well as space travel to other planets.

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Experiments on mice on the international space station show how to slow the aging process age and help bolster the body, this according to a study by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Tohoku University.

In space, where microgravity and radiation are stronger, humans and animals undergo biological changes similar to aging, but fast-forwarded.

A certain protein – nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2, or Nrf2 – can slow down part of this transformation.

According to the study, 12 mice spent 31 days in Japan’s Kibo science module on the space station in the spring of 2018.

Six had been genetically engineered, and did not have Nrf2, whilst the other six remained unmodified.

After their time in space, the group without Nrf2 put on weight, whilst the other six did not. The results show that this protein plays an important role in reducing stress and slowing down aging.

Since the blood transformation observed in the genetically modified mice also occurs among old people on earth, Nrf2 could become a key agent in helping decelerate aging.

For the Tohoko University team, Nrf2-based treatments could help people with Alzheimer, diabetes, and stress.

The findings could also help mitigate health risks involved with travel to other planets that might take light-years.