A New Way to Fight Free Radicals
University of Michigan researchers have taken a big step in figuring out how to fight deadly free radicals, which cause cell damage, aging, disease and death.
The study outlines the discovery of a protein that acts as a powerful protectant against free radicals. Ironically, the protein is activated by excessive free radicals. Human mutations of the gene for this protein are previously known to cause a rare, neurodegenerative disease.
Lysosomes, which comprise the cell’s recycling center, are crucial for cleaning up injured and dying parts of the cells, said lead researcher Haoxing Xu, U-M associate professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology.
“If we have chemical compounds that can directly activate this channel, we can lower the oxidative stress in aging and other diseases,” Xu said. “The result will be that cell damage and free radical levels could be reduced, and one can possibly slow down aging.”
The study was published in Nature Communications.