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LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

A team led by investigators in the US and Saudi Arabia describe apparent ties between long interspersed nuclear element 1 (LINE-1) retrotransposon elements and premature aging conditions called Hutchinson-Gilford syndrome and Werner syndrome for a paper in Science Translational Medicine. After detecting LINE-1 RNA accumulation in cells stemming from progeroid syndrome cases, the researchers found that they could dampen down premature age-related symptoms and alter the expression of genes in aging, inflammation, and other pathways in progeria mouse models or human cells by preventing such accumulation. "Targeting LINE-1 RNA may be an effective way to treat progeroid syndromes, as well as other age-related diseases that have been connected to LINE-1, including neuropsychiatric, eye, metabolic disorders, and cancers," the study's co-senior author Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a gene expression researcher at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and director of the Altos Labs San Diego Institute of Science, says in a statement, noting that "we think that this approach may lead to treatments to help extend human health span."