Research carried out by the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden showed that low levels of the oxidizing hydrogen peroxide can stimulate an enzyme which helps delay cell aging. This is due to the fact that it slows down the process of yeast cells, which is totally the opposite of when they are exposed to high concentrations of oxidants.
For their part, antioxidants, found in vitamins C and E, also help neutralize reactive oxygen species, mostly known as oxidants. If this were not the case, oxidants could react with important molecules in the body and destroy their biological functions. Even large amounts of this component cause severe damage to DNA, cell membranes and proteins. It should be noted, the human body through its cells develop powerful defense mechanisms to get rid of said compound, which are also formed in the metabolism in a normal way.
In this context, it was previously believed that oxidants were only harmful, but scientists have discovered that they have positive functions. Likewise, the discovery of the oxidative hydrogen peroxide as an aging retarder completely changes the picture, according to experts. It is important to mention that this chemical is used mostly to whiten teeth and bleach hair, but it is also one of the most damaging oxidants formed in the metabolism in high concentrations.
“Peroxyredoxins help to understand the useful life of cells when they are subject to calorie restrictions”, says in an article Mikael Molin, leader of the research group, on the function of enzymes and their participation in cell defense against oxidants harmful. Therefore, by now known, calorie intake can significantly extend the lifespan of a variety of organisms.
Chalmers specialists studied the enzyme Tsa1, which is part of the group of antioxidants called peroxyredoxins. The analysis showed that this catalyst does not affect the levels of hydrogen peroxide in the cells of the aged yeast. In contrast, Tsa1 uses small amounts of the compound to be able to reduce the central signaling pathway when cells obtain fewer calories.
Ultimately, the effects of this lead to a slowdown in cell division and processes related to the formation of building blocks of cells, according to the study. It is important to mention, in this transformation, the cell’s defenses against stress are also stimulated and, consequently, aging is delayed.
In that sense, the researchers claim to have come a little closer to understanding the mechanisms behind how oxidants can actually delay cellular aging. However, they want to find out what is the relationship that these compounds could have with some age-related diseases. This in order to find peroxyredoxin stimulating drugs, which potentiate the positive effects of oxidants in the body.