A long shot at extended life

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 September, 2005, 12:00am

Longevity may be something we strive for through exercise, diet and building healthy relationships, but researchers have made a breakthrough with an injection that could potentially increase

our lifespan.

According to a report on healthday.com released last month, a hormone made by a gene called Klotho suppresses ageing in mice.

Makoto Kuro-o, the lead author of the paper, says humans have an almost identical version of the Klotho mouse gene and 'some studies show that variations of the Klotho gene are associated with extended life in humans'.

The gene is so named for the Greek goddess who supposedly spun the thread of life, healthday.com says.

Kuro-o was among a group of scientists in Japan who first identified the gene in 1997 in a mutated form that hastened age-dependant loss of function in mice.

In the new study, Kuro-o, now in the US, gave mice overactive versions of the Klotho gene. The results show that those mice had lifespans of 20 per cent or more than those with the ordinary version of the gene, Kuro-o is reported as saying.

But don't cut back on talking to friends or ditch the fruit and vegetables just yet. The reality is a long way off. Further trials are needed and researchers still don't know if it can be used to extend human life.