Another longevity-related biochemical pathway

Another cross-species pathway has been discovered that allows interventions to lengthen life in primitive organisms, C. elegans nematode worms in this case.  The pathway is related to the hypoxic response, how cells respond to protect themselves when there is insufficient oxygen.  It turns out that if the hypoxic response can be turned on when normal oxygen is present, nematodes live significantly longer.  A recent research report indicates that this was experimentally accomplished by breeding nematodes that could not produce the protein VHL-1which destroys another protein called HIF which keeps the hypoxic response turned off when oxygen is present.  Also, it appears that the cells in such long-lived nematodes are relatively free of lipofuscin and toxic age-related protein aggregations such as seen in Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and other age-related diseases(ref).  So, as is the case for dietary restriction the increase appears to be not only in lifespan but also in healthspan.  The hypoxic response pathway is different than that which is involved in calorie restriction.  “VHL-1 and HIF-1 control longevity by a mechanism distinct from both dietary restriction and insulin/IGF-1-like signaling.”  As of yet, however, just how HIF works downstream to extend longevity is still unclear.  The hypoxic response appears to operate in higher animals as well, including humans.  However, Dr. Matt Kaeberlein, University of Washington assistant professor of pathology and the senior author on the study is reported to caution that “mutation of VHL-1 is associated with a variety of tumors, and any therapies targeted toward activation of HIF would most likely need to be specific for cells that are not rapidly dividing, such as brain cells or muscle cells.”  It is too early to know if a practical human anti-aging intervention can be tied to the hypoxic response but the possibility is intriguing.

About Vince Giuliano

Being a follower, connoisseur, and interpreter of longevity research is my latest career. I have been at this part-time for well over a decade, and in 2007 this became my mainline activity. In earlier reincarnations of my career. I was founding dean of a graduate school and a university professor at the State University of New York, a senior consultant working in a variety of fields at Arthur D. Little, Inc., Chief Scientist and C00 of Mirror Systems, a software company, and an international Internet consultant. I got off the ground with one of the earliest PhD's from Harvard in a field later to become known as computer science. Because there was no academic field of computer science at the time, to get through I had to qualify myself in hard sciences, so my studies focused heavily on quantum physics. In various ways I contributed to the Computer Revolution starting in the 1950s and the Internet Revolution starting in the late 1980s. I am now engaged in doing the same for The Longevity Revolution. I have published something like 200 books and papers as well as over 430 substantive.entries in this blog, and have enjoyed various periods of notoriety. If you do a Google search on Vincent E. Giuliano, most if not all of the entries on the first few pages that come up will be ones relating to me. I have a general writings site at and an extensive site of my art at Please note that I have recently changed my mailbox to
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