Avoiding recurrent stress keeps you young

Scientists at the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (DKFZ), Heidelberg and at the Institute for Stem Cell Technology and Experimental Medicine (HI-STEM gGmbH) in Germany, have shown that environmental stress is a major factor in driving DNA damage in adult stem cells (Nature).

Stem cells are your body’s repair cells. They are usually almost dormant, but a sudden cut, even an operation, chronic blood loss or long-term infection constitutes severe stress and this can damage them even to their DNA structure leading to serious illness and even cancer.

“It’s like forcing you out of your bed in the middle of the night and then putting you into a sports car and asking you to drive as fast as you can around a race circuit while you are still half asleep,” explained Dr Michael Milsom, leader of the study. “The stem cells go from a state of rest to very high activity within a short space of time, requiring them to rapidly increase their metabolic rate, synthesize new DNA and coordinate cell division. Suddenly having to simultaneously execute these complicated functions dramatically increases the likelihood that something will go wrong.”

Healthy stem cells can usually repair the damage, but researchers found, the more you are exposed to such stresses, the more the likelihood of long-term serios DNA damage. The researchers felt this age-related accumulation of stress incidents might typically lead to leukaemia. But any chronic illness was possible.

Professor Dr. Andreas Trumpp, director of HI-STEM and head of the Division of Stem Cells and Cancer at the DKFZ believes that this work is a big step towards understanding a range of age-related diseases. Keep your stem cells stress free and it is very anti-ageing.

Read more at: http://www.dkfz.de/en/presse/pressemitteilungen/2015/dkfz-pm-15-08-A-good-nights-sleep-keeps-your-stem-cells-young.php