Authors of PNAS study suspect that insulin activates Klotho, which in turn inhibits the enzyme.

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine found that secretion of Klotho, an antiaging gene that is associated with life-span extension in rodents and humans, is regulated by insulin.

The Klotho protein sits in the membrane of certain cells but is also found circulating in serum and cerebrospinal fluid, which indicates that it is secreted, according to the BU team. They hypothesized that some enzymes must be involved in the liberation of Klotho from the cell membrane.

The investigators discovered that insulin significantly increases the levels of secreted Klotho. They propose that insulin increases Klotho secretion, and in turn the secreted Klotho inhibits insulin’s actions in the cell.

The investigators say that they are now studying various ways to increase the level of Klotho to those found in young individuals. “The findings reported here may lead to new research designed to regulate the aging process; in other words, compounds that would increase Klotho could become the next fountain of youth,” according to Carmela Abraham, Ph.D., study leader and a professor of biochemistry and medicine at the university.

The paper will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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