Some people live much longer than average, partly due to their DNA.
In a new study, researchers found that it is possible to replicate this genetic gift even for those lacking it.
The finding may help develop a new therapy model for preventing and fighting heart diseases through a real rejuvenation of blood vessels.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Salerno and their collaborators.
In the study, the team focused on the gene that encodes the BPIFB4 protein.
Previously, the research group had identified a variant of this gene, the so-called LAV (“longevity associated variant”), which prevails in people over 100 years of age.
In the new study, the researchers have inserted the LAV-BPIFB4 gene into the DNA of animals particularly susceptible to heart diseases.
They observed an improvement in the functionality of the endothelium (the inner surface of blood vessels), a reduction of plaques in the arteries and a decrease in the inflammatory state.
This means the inclusion of the “centenarian gene” has led to a real rejuvenation of the cardiovascular system.
The team confirmed the finding in the laboratory by delivering the LAV-BPIFB4 protein to human blood vessels.
They then did further studies on groups of patients.
First, they saw that at a higher level of BPIFB4 protein in the blood was linked to healthier blood vessels. Moreover, carriers of the LAV genetic variant had higher protein levels.
The researchers suggest that the new study paves the way to new heart disease therapies based on the LAV-BPIFB4 protein.
They believe it is possible to slow down cardiovascular damage due to age by administering the protein to patients.
One author of the study is Annibale Puca, coordinator of the research team.
The study is published in the European Heart Journal.
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