Magnetic Fields Modestly Extend Life in Nematode Worms via Effects on Mitochondrial Function

Electromagnetic effects on cellular biochemistry, and their potential use as interventions, are little studied in comparison to the use of pharmaceutical agents. That state of affairs shows little sign of changing in the near future, despite the existence of interesting studies on regeneration, or this one on the longevity of nematodes. Researchers pin down a potential mechanism to explain how a magnetic field can alter the activities of cells in ways that modestly extend life in this short-lived species. It is worth noting that nematode life span is very plastic in response to circumstances and interventions. Approaches that have little effect on longer-lived mammals can double the life span of a nematode, so the 18% median life extension noted here should be taken as a small effect size in the bigger picture. Nonetheless, the mechanism is quite interesting.

Ageing is regulated by intrinsic genetic pathways and in response to extrinsic environmental cues. Diet and temperature are widely reported to modulate longevity through a network of molecular signalling. The magnetic field is another critical environmental factor to all life on earth, which has a mild dipolar geomagnetic field (GMF) of 25-65 μT. Whereas artificial magnetic fields of high energy are hazardous by ionizing and thermal effects, GMF is known to have many significant biological effects. Magnetotactic bacteria sense GMF for cellular migration. Other organisms across taxa, such as butterflies, salmon, and birds, are considered to navigate over long distances by tracing GMF. The moderate magnetic field has recently been shown to regulate immune cell function and redox homeostasis. Given its various biological effects, it is intriguing to explore the potential influence of the moderate magnetic field in ageing and the underlying mechanisms.

The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is a well-established model organism in ageing research, with conserved ageing phenotypes and mechanisms. Adult C. elegans is around 1 mm in length and 31-72 μm in diameter. In lab, these tiny worms are grown on a two-dimensional bacteria lawn. These features make it easy to treat multiple worms and different worm tissues with similar magnetic field intensity. Moreover, C. elegans was suggested to sense GMF during vertical burrowing migrations. Here, we investigated the effect of a moderate magnetic field on worm ageing. Our results indicate that a static magnetic field (SMF) of 10 mT extends worms lifespan and enhances the motility of aged worms, potentially through inhibiting the ageing-related changes of mitochondrial morphology and function. We further found that SMF treatment upregulates a group of cytochrome P450 (CYP) genes to induce longevity.

CYPs have intensive interaction with mitochondria. Mitochondria is a major cellular organelle of CYPs localisation. The mitochondrial electron transport system serves as an electron donor for mitochondrial CYPs catalytic activity, whereas the products of CYP-dependent metabolism affect mitochondrial functions. CYP2U1, the mammalian ortholog of the three CYPs in SMF-induced longevity, is localised in mitochondria and controls mitochondrial morphology. As the three CYPs also regulate the morphological changes of mitochondria during worm ageing, it will be interesting to clarify their interaction with mitochondria further and to pursue the potential role of CYP2U1 in mammal ageing.



And then they discovered all super-agers slept on beds with steel frames. . .

Posted by: Neal Asher at October 6th, 2022 9:47 PM
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