The researchers of the following study investigated how 2 substances metformin, a drug, and berberine a plant substance, separately may affect and slow down the ageing process (Han X,et.al., 2016).
These enzymes and functions are affecting how we age.
The function of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), an enzyme, is to promote mitochondrial health. The mitochondria are components in the cells where the energy is produced.
AMPK controls cell growth and several other cellular processes, including lipid and glucose metabolism and autophagy.
Autophagy is a term used when the body is removing damaged and old cells and recycling useful cell components.
AMPK activates glucose and fatty acid uptake and oxidation when cellular energy is low.
The researchers showed that AMPK was inactivated in senescent cells.
Senescent cells are cells that stop multiplying but they don’t die off when they should. They instead remain and continue to release chemicals that can trigger inflammation and interfere with normal function.
However, activation of AMPK by berberine or metformin significantly prevented the development of senescence and inhibition of AMPK.
The scientists also found that AMPK activation restored the NAD(+) levels involved in the energy production in the senescent cells.
Berberine is a natural plant substance which also provide numerous additional benefits.
Han X, Tai H, Wang X, Wang Z, Zhou J, Wei X, Ding Y, Gong H, Mo C, Zhang J, Qin J, Ma Y, Huang N, Xiang R, Xiao H. AMPK activation protects cells from oxidative stress-induced senescence via autophagic flux restoration and intracellular NAD(+) elevation. Aging Cell. 2016 Jun;15(3):416-27.
Berberine significantly down-regulates cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression in microglia cells. COX-2 are inflammatory promoting enzymes. Microglia cells are located throughout the brain and spinal cord.