Turn back Bach?

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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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Source: Maxpixel

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?

Continue reading “Turn back Bach?”

Reduce your RAGE as you AGE

An Advanced Glycation Endproduct (or AGE) is a protein or lipid that has become glycated.

Glycation is a haphazard process that impairs the normal functioning of molecules. It occurs as a result of exposure to high amounts of sugar. These AGEs are present at above average levels in people with diabetes and various ageing-related disorders, including neurodegenerative conditionsAGEs have been shown to trigger signalling pathways within cells that are associated with both oxidative stress and inflammation, but also cell death.

RAGE (or receptor of AGEs) is a molecule in a cell membrane that becomes activated when it interacts with various AGEs. And this interaction mediates AGE-associated toxicity issues. Recently researchers found that that neurons carrying the Parkinson’s associated LRRK2 G2019S genetic variant are more sensitive to AGEs than neurons without the genetic variant. 

In today’s post we will look at what AGE and RAGE are, review the new LRRK2 research, and discuss how blocking RAGE could represent a future therapeutic approach for treating Parkinson’s.


The wonder of ageing. Source: Club-cleo

NOTE: Be warned, the reading of this post may get a bit confusing. We are going to be discussing ageing (as in the body getting old) as well as AGEing (the haphazard process processing of glycation). For better clarification, lower caps ‘age’ will refer to getting old, while capitalised ‘AGE’ will deal with that glycation process. I hope this helps.


Ageing means different things to different people.

For some people ageing means more years to add to your life and less activity. For others it means more medication and less hair. More wrinkles and less independence; more arthritis and less dignity; More candles, and less respect from that unruly younger generation; More… what’s that word I’m thinking of? (forgetfulness)… and what were we actually talking about?

Wisdom is supposed to come with age, but as the comedian/entertainer George Carlin once said “Age is a hell of a price to pay for wisdom”. I have to say though, that if I had ever met Mr Carlin, I would have suggested to him that I’m feeling rather ripped off!

George Carlin. Source: Thethornycroftdiatribe

Whether we like it or not, from the moment you are born, ageing is an inevitable part of our life. But this has not stopped some adventurous scientific souls from trying to understand the process, and even try to alter it in an attempt to help humans live longer.

Regardless of whether you agree with the idea of humans living longer than their specified use-by-date, some of this ageing-related research could have tremendous benefits for neurodegenerative conditions, like Parkinson’s.

What do we know about the biology of ageing?

Continue reading “Reduce your RAGE as you AGE”