Human Uncoupling Proteins and Longevity

Uncoupling proteins are involved in the processes by which metabolism determines natural longevity through their effects on mitochondrial activity, and are of interest to calorie restriction researchers: "The brown fat specific UnCoupling Protein 1 (UCP1) is involved in thermogenesis, a process by which energy is dissipated as heat in response to cold stress and excess of caloric intake. Thermogenesis has potential implications for body mass control and cellular fat metabolism. In fact, in humans, the variability of the UCP1 gene is associated with obesity, fat gain and metabolism. Since regulation of metabolism is one of the key-pathways in lifespan extension, we tested the possible effects of UCP1 variability on survival. Two polymorphisms (A-3826G and C-3740A), falling in the upstream promoter region of UCP1, were analyzed in a sample of 910 subjects from southern Italy (475 women and 435 men; age range 40-109). By analyzing haplotype specific survival functions we found that the A-C haplotype favors survival in the elderly. Consistently, transfection experiments showed that the luciferase activity of the construct containing the A-C haplotype was significantly higher than that containing the G-A haplotype. Interestingly, the different UCP1 haplotypes responded differently to hormonal stimuli. The results we present suggest a correlation between the activity of UCP1 and human survival, indicating once again the intricacy of mechanisms involved in energy production, storage and consumption as the key to understanding human aging and longevity."



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