"Boosting the complex almost fully restored heart function," Bai said. Implications for treatment in humans
The discovery that enhancing mTORC2 slows the decline of the critical autophagy process could have big implications for how doctors treat patients with heart disease, one of the leading causes of the death in the United States. While flies and humans might seem to be worlds apart evolutionarily, Bai said the two species' hearts age in a similar fashion. By middle age, cardiac muscles in both species tend to contract with less strength and regularity.
The fly model can be useful for developing drug target discoveries that could have a big impact on human health." Hua Bai, assistant professor of genetics, development and cell biology at Iowa State University
The researchers arrived at their conclusions after conducting thousands of video recordings on cardiac muscles in fruit flies of various ages. High-resolution, high-speed cameras measured the activity of the flies' cardiac muscles. The experiments showed that boosting mTORC2 could restore a five-to-six-week-old fly's heart function to that of a fly between one and two weeks old. That's like restoring a middle-aged heart to how it functioned during young adulthood, Bai said.
Because flies live only between two and three months, it's much easier for scientists to study aging and longevity in flies than in more long-lived species, he said. And the ability to manipulate the fly genome also makes them ideal for genetic study and a common model organism, he said. Source:
Iowa State University Journal reference:
Chang, K., et al. (2019) TGFB-INHB/activin signaling regulates age-dependent autophagy and cardiac health through inhibition of MTORC2. Autophagy . doi.org/10.1080/15548627.2019.1704117 .
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