Researchers identify age-related differences in human blood metabolites

March 28, 2016, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology
Vegetables can be high in antioxidants, which are metabolites researchers find decrease in elderly adults. Credit: OIST

Metabolites—substances that are created during metabolism—can provide a wealth of information about individual health, disease, diet, and life-style. Now, they can tell us even more. Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) researchers and collaborators at Kyoto University have recently discovered metabolites that are specifically related to aging and shed light on how the human body ages. The team, led by OIST's Professor Yanagida, published their results in PNAS.

In order to find and analyse the metabolites, the team obtained blood samples, including (RBCs) from 30 healthy individuals: 15 young adults (29±4 yr) and 15 (81±7 yr). Previously, RBCs have been overlooked in research, but as RBCs make up approximately half of blood volume, the researchers believed it was worth exploration.

Then, they used Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS), a technique that separates liquids and detects substances, to identify the metabolites within the blood. From there, they could calculate the coefficients of variation, or the standard deviation of metabolite abundance divided by the average, to identify which compounds had increased or decreased in the older adults.

"We found 14 age-related compounds," Yanagida said. "Of these 14 compounds, half of the them had decreased in . The decrease was found in antioxidants and in compounds related to muscle strength. Therefore, elderly people had less antioxidants and less muscle strength."

The other half of the compounds that had increased were metabolites related to declining kidney and liver function.

"This makes sense," Yanagida said. "Common sense tells you that as we get older we lose abilities like muscle strength and kidney function, but no one has ever scientifically proved that this is the case before."In addition, some of the age-related metabolites that are found on the same metabolic pathways have connected changes, which suggests that age affects them simultaneously.

"Functionally related show the same tendencies to increase or decrease with age, or in other words, they show similar correlations," Yanagida said.

Now that these age-related metabolites have been identified, the decline in antioxidants and suggest that it is important for individuals to consume foods high in antioxidants and to continue exercising, especially after the age of 65. This could help increase the levels of the related in the body and improve body conditions. While many unknown components to living a long and healthy life remain, the research team will continue to uncover as much information about healthful aging.

"Longevity is a great mystery for us," Yanagida said. "We want to find how elderly people can live a happy final stage of life. This is the way we can contribute to human health."

Explore further: Emerging nutraceuticals for aging individuals

More information: Individual variability in human blood metabolites identifies age-related differences, PNAS, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1603023113

Related Stories

Emerging nutraceuticals for aging individuals

March 18, 2016
When it comes to aging, the focus is not just on living longer. Quality of life is equally as important. Baby Boomers and the aging population want a long life full of experiences and the energy and vitality to enjoy them.

Details revealed for how plant creates anticancer compounds

March 21, 2016
Catharanthus roseus (rosy periwinkle) is a plant that produces organic compounds used to treat cancer, arrhythmia, and other medical conditions. A Japanese research group has revealed the details of the metabolism process ...

Scientists discover cause of and potential treatment for muscle weakness and loss due to aging

September 8, 2015
As we grow older, we lose strength and muscle mass. However, the cause of age-related muscle weakness and atrophy has remained a mystery.

Blood lipid metabolites allow early identification of cardiovascular disease

December 11, 2014
New circulating metabolites might allow early diagnosis of cardiovascular disease. A team of scientists from Uppsala University, Karolinska Institutet and Colorado State University have identified novel lipid-derived molecules ...

Never-before-seen plant metabolites discovered

August 24, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—Purdue University researchers have captured evolution in action through the discovery of a new set of metabolites synthesized by Arabidopsis plants, according to research findings published this week in ...

Recommended for you

Scientists produce human intestinal lining that re-creates living tissue inside organ-chip

February 16, 2018
Investigators have demonstrated how cells of a human intestinal lining created outside an individual's body mirror living tissue when placed inside microengineered Intestine-Chips, opening the door to personalized testing ...

Data wave hits health care

February 16, 2018
Technology used by Facebook, Google and Amazon to turn spoken language into text, recognize faces and target advertising could help doctors fight one of the deadliest infections in American hospitals.

Researcher explains how statistics, neuroscience improve anesthesiology

February 16, 2018
It's intuitive that anesthesia operates in the brain, but the standard protocol among anesthesiologists when monitoring and dosing patients during surgery is to rely on indirect signs of arousal like movement, and changes ...

Team reports progress in pursuit of sickle cell cure

February 16, 2018
Scientists have successfully used gene editing to repair 20 to 40 percent of stem and progenitor cells taken from the peripheral blood of patients with sickle cell disease, according to Rice University bioengineer Gang Bao.

Appetite-controlling molecule could prevent 'rebound' weight gain after dieting

February 15, 2018
Scientists have revealed how mice control their appetite when under stress such as cold temperatures and starvation, according to a new study by Monash University and St Vincent's Institute in Melbourne. The results shed ...

First study of radiation exposure in human gut Organ Chip device offers hope for better radioprotective drugs

February 14, 2018
Chernobyl. Three Mile Island. Fukushima. Accidents at nuclear power plants can potentially cause massive destruction and expose workers and civilians to dangerous levels of radiation that lead to cancerous genetic mutations ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Dug
not rated yet Mar 28, 2016
Not exactly news. The idea that numerous blood factors are affected by aging and or may have anti-aging impacts has been known for over 100 years in association with parabiosis research occurring or this same period.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.