The Gazette - 2009-03-14

Sweet – and short

UdM scientists find link between sugar, aging

The sweet life can be a short one.

Université de Montréal scientists say they have established a stronger link between aging and eating too much sugar.

“The link between the rise in agerelated diseases and the over-consumption of sugar in today’s diet is clearer. Our research opens a door to new therapeutic strategies for fighting age-related diseases,” said biochemistry professor Luis Rokeach.

Rokeach discovered that if they removed the gene for a glucose sensor from yeast cells – which are surprisingly similar and age much like human cells – they lived just as long as those living on a glucose-restricted diet. In other words, the fate of these cells doesn’t depend on what they eat, but what they think they’re eating.

The research team found that the lifespan of yeast cells increased when glucose was decreased in their diet, and that obliterating the sensor that measures the levels of glucose significantly increased their lifespan.