The body ages, that is common knowledge – but new research now appears to have actually identified an internal ‘timepiece’ that can be used to accurately gauge the age of diverse human organs, tissues and cell types.
Looking at DNA methylation in nearly 8,000 samples from 51 types of tissue and cells taken from throughout the body, Prof. Steve Horvath was able to zero in on 353 markers that appear to change with age and which are present throughout the body. And when he decided to test his ‘clock’ by comparing a tissue’s biological age to its chronological age, it proved to be quite accurate…most of the time.
However, while most tissues’ biological ages matched their chronological ages there were some, like a woman’s breast tissue, that diverged significantly: healthy breast tissue was about two to three years ‘older’ than the rest of a woman’s body. Furthermore, in a woman with breast cancer, the healthy tissue next to the tumor was an average of 12 years older, while the tumor tissue was an average of 36 years older.
He also looked at pluripotent stem cells and found that, according to his ‘clock’, they could be considered newborns – the process of transforming a person’s cells into pluripotent stem cells seems to reset the clock to zero.
Press release: http://bit.ly/16qWG1Y