A Report From the Glenn Aging Symposium

Via the Gerontology Research Group list, Pete Estep reports from the 2007 Harvard / Paul F. Glenn Symposium on Aging. Hyperlinks are added by my hand for general edification, as usual:

I attended the Glenn Symposium on Aging today at Harvard Medical School. The speakers in order were Elizabeth Blackburn, Doug Wallace, Marcia Haigis, Nir Barzilai, Pere Puigserver, Tom Prolla, Marc Tatar, Rick Weindruch, and David Sinclair. Overall, it was pretty good. I missed Blackburn and Wallace but I saw Blackburn talk earlier this year and her latest research on telomeres is very interesting.

Barzilai talked about their centenarian study. He is calling it the LonGenity study! I told him I let the Longenity domain expire just recently--which was grabbed immediately. He was a bit perturbed not to have gotten it but I didn't know he had started using the name. Anyway, they are doing some SNP studies which he did not report on. He talked mostly about LDL and HDL particle size, and he showed data suggesting that both centenarians and their offspring have larger LDL and HDL relative to controls. They also found some IGF1-R allelic variants in some small centenarians. He also talked a bit about some work in rats. They surgically removed the visceral fat in ad lib fed young rats which lived longer and showed increased insulin sensitivity relative to ad lib fed controls.

Prolla talked about the Polg mutant mouse and some recent results they've gotten on measuring mtDNA deletions (in addition to their recently published work on point mutations). It seems that deletions increase in Polg -/- homozygotes but not in heterozygotes, which might explain why homozygotes experience accelerated aging but hets do not.

Weindruch gave an update on the Wisconsin primate [calorie restriction] project. The ad lib fed animals and CR animal mortality curves appear to be diverging but the result is not statistically significant yet.

Dave Sinclair gave an update on his lab's work on Sir2 and small molecule sirtuin activating compounds (STACs). Both resveratrol and SIRT1 overexpression reduce intestinal and other cancers. Sirtris, the company Sinclair founded with Christoph Westphal, has several compounds that are both stable and activate Sir2 at 1000x lower concentrations compared to resveratrol. I asked David about the switch to knotweed extract from China and he said it is a real concern. He stopped taking resveratrol a while back in order to participate in a Sirtris pre-clinical trial.

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