Bat Protein Can Slow Down Aging and Treat Serious Diseases, Scientists Find

Bat Protein Can Slow Down Aging and Treat Serious Diseases, Scientists Find
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According to a study, a protein from bats may hold the answer to halting aging and warding off diseases like Covid, heart disease, and arthritis in humans.

Bats have an average lifespan of 20 years and are unaffected by human-deadly pathogens like Ebola and Covid-19.

Scientists are now looking into the animals to learn if humans can also benefit from their resistance to illness as a result of this.

That being said, at the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, scientists identified the protein that underlies their extraordinary immune system.

Scientists are hopeful that it will eventually be used to save millions of lives because it showed promise in genetically modified mice.

The protein known as “bat ASC2,” which stops the inflammatory response in bats and confers their viral endurance, was discovered to be altered by the researchers.

“Our results demonstrate an important mechanism by which bats limit excessive virus-induced and stress-related inflammation with implications for their long lifespan,’ the team wrote.

According to the study, which was published in the journal Cell, they genetically modified mice to carry the ASC2 protein, and those mice then displayed the same protective characteristics against inflammation as bats.

The human cells exposed to the bat ASC2 developed greater disease resistance, demonstrating its “therapeutic potential.”

Inflammasomes, a component of the immune system that triggers inflammatory reactions when the body is infected, are dampened by ASC2.

According to Dr. Linfa Wang, a professor of emerging infectious diseases, the bat ASC2 may hold the key to longevity and lower viral mortality rates.

“It may not be the only factor, as biology is never as simple as one molecule or one pathway. But the overall dampening of inflammation most likely plays a role in health aging in bats,” he said.

According to Dr. Wang, the new discovery may allow for the development of human drugs that imitate ASC2, which might subsequently be used to treat a variety of viruses that cause inflammatory reactions in people.

“We have filed patents based on this work and are exploring commercial partnerships for drug discovery. We are hoping to develop a new class of anti-inflammatory drugs for inflammasome-driven human diseases,” the expert went on to share.

According to Dr. Wang, the new discovery may allow for the development of human drugs that imitate ASC2, which might subsequently be used to treat a variety of viruses that cause inflammatory reactions in people.

In mice with the ASC2 adaption, the mortality rate from a killer flu virus was reduced by half, from 100 t0 50 percent.

ASC2 also ‘substantially suppressed’ the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which was initially identified in Africa, in the genetically modified mice.

Both humans and bats carry the protein, but the researchers hypothesize that it has become stronger in bats because flying places their bodies under tremendous physiological stress.

In order to live, bats may have developed a mechanism to control their inflammatory immune response.

The paper mentions that “Since bats are the only mammals with powered flight, the metabolically costly flight might be one of the key drivers for this adaptation.”

The hypothesis that bat ASC2 protein may target the portion of the immune system liable for inflammatory reactions and, consequently, reduce inflammation in petri dish cells and in mice, was proven by the researchers, according to Professor Gilda Tachedjian, via The Telegraph.

“While the findings of this study are intriguing, more work is needed to translate these findings into new therapies that can be used in people to reduce mortality from viruses or increase longevity,” she added.


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Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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