Genes and Lengthening Lifespans

| April 24, 2016 | 0 Comments | Email This Post Email This Post

13838365_sResearchers at the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions have discovered how a gene in the brain’s dopamine system can play an important role in prolonging lifespan: it must be coupled with a healthy environment that includes exercise.

The study, led by Panayotis (Peter) K. Thanos, senior research scientist at RIA, appears in the current, online version of Oncotarget Aging.

Thanos and his team studied the genes in dopamine to assess their impact on lifespan and behavior in mice. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers and helps regulate physical mobility and emotional response.

The researchers found that the dopamine D2 receptor gene (D2R) significantly influences lifespan, body weight and locomotor activity, but only when combined with an enriched environment that included social interaction, sensory and cognitive stimulation and, most critically, exercise.

“The incorporation of exercise is an important component of an enriched environment and its benefits have been shown to be a powerful mediator of brain function and behavior,” Thanos says.

The researchers found that the dopamine D2 receptor gene (D2R) significantly influences lifespan, body weight and locomotor activity, but only when combined with an enriched environment that included social interaction, sensory and cognitive stimulation and, most critically, exercise.

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