Keeping The Body's Multiple Clocks in Sync Could Be The Secret to Slowing Aging

Our bodies are governed by multiple internal clocks, crucial for syncing with the world around us. Two recent studies shed light on how these clocks work together to maintain tissue function and slow down aging.

The researchers looked at the links between brain and muscle clocks. (Kumar et al., Science, 2024)

Researchers focused on two key clocks: the central circadian clock, managed by the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the brain, and peripheral circadian clocks spread throughout the body, controlling cellular processes in organs, muscles, and skin.

When the central clock communicates with peripheral clocks during the day, essential processes like DNA repair, energy management, metabolism, and cell cycle regulation stay on track, helping tissues function optimally and age slower.

Our study shows that even minimal interaction between the central and peripheral clocks can maintain muscle and skin health, preventing deterioration and aging.

explains biologist Pura Muñoz-Cánoves from Pompeu Fabra University, Spain.

Two studies were conducted simultaneously. The first, published in Science, used mouse experiments to demonstrate that restoring coordination between brain and muscle clocks protects against muscle wasting and loss of strength.

The second study, in Cell Stem Cell, focused on the circadian clock in mouse skin. Without proper regulation by the central clock, functions like DNA replication occurred at incorrect times.

While peripheral clocks can operate somewhat independently, managing basic tissue functions and tracking 24-hour cycles, they still rely on the central clock for optimal function. Interestingly, restricting feeding times in mice without the brain clock helped peripheral clocks manage on their own.

Understanding the synchronization between brain and peripheral clocks is crucial for skin and muscle health, even though peripheral clocks can carry out basic functions independently.

notes Aznar Benitah from the Institute for Research in Biomedicine Barcelona, Spain.

Our body's circadian rhythms, which regulate processes like sleep and digestion, are essential for health. Disruptions, like jet lag or night shifts, can have serious negative impacts.

While aging affects muscles, skin, and the nervous system, these studies suggest that maintaining synchronization between clocks could help preserve physical performance later in life.

The next step is identifying the signaling factors involved in this interaction, with potential therapeutic applications in mind - Muñoz-Cánoves.

These groundbreaking studies were published in Science and  Cell Stem Cell, offering hope for healthier aging.

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