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Cellular activity generates a lot of waste and by-products. Cells have developed very efficient methods of dealing with this situation.
As we age, however, these processes become strained, and in degenerative conditions they appear to be rather dysfunctional.
New research highlights a novel mechanism – Bach1 derepression – which points towards a new class of potential therapeutics and interesting avenues of further study.
In today’s post, we will discuss the results of this new research and explore the implications of it.
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I am marveling at the fact that I am typing these words.
And that you are reading them.
Consider for a moment the requirements of this arrangement. And I’m not talking about the tiny muscles changing the size of the pupil in your eye, or the neurons in your visual cortex firing in unison to give you a correct and colour-rich representation of the world in front of you that has nothing to do with the actual content being observed.
Rather, I’m thinking more about about what is going on one level down – actually inside of each cell:
A liver cell. Source: Muhadharaty
There is a universe of frenzied molecular activity in each and every cell of our bodies. And we are only just starting to build up a user guide to the densely packed, fuzzy complexity of this inner world. This video gives an extremely simplified version of some of what is going on (in reality, the interior of cells is significantly more densely packed and the activity is a vastly quicker):
And as I suggested above it should be celebrated that what occurs in these cells is so rapid, efficient and precise that I can type these words and you can read them.
All of this crazy activity, however, produces waste and by-products.
Cells have of course developed very effective means of dealing with those issues. But as we age, cells can start to struggle with the task of waste disposal. And as a result, we can start to see an accumulation of these by-products, which can lead to stress on the cell, particularly in the form of oxidative stress.
What is oxidative stress?