In the process of interaction of the body and the environment, there are "failures" that need constant monitoring and correction. Although the process of cell regeneration is not fully understood, scientists believe that stem cells play an important role.
Researchers from the Spanish Cancer Research Institute have discovered a gene that is responsible for maintaining the mechanism of tissue repair. The interconnection between stem cells, aging and the development of cancer is a puzzle, the deciphering of which would help to resist many diseases.
The object of the study was the geneSox4, promoting the development of organs, bones, differentiation of blood cells during embryo growth, and also used by stem cells in an adult human body.
Mutations of the Sox4 gene turn it into an oncogene, the level of which is increased in almost all types of cancer. It is he that leads to intensive cell division and disrupts the process of apoptosis - the death of cells with defective DNA. The role of the Sox4 gene in metastasis of tumors is known.
Scientists have tried to study the role ofSox4in the adult body, for which they produced mice with low levels of the gene. Rodents survived, but they had a number of peculiarities: they were less than relatives, they were older and did not have a tendency to develop cancer. But in mice with a defective gene, risks of other age-related diseases appeared.
Scientists have found that reducing the level of the geneSox4caused a shortening of telomeres - terminal chromosomal regions, which have a protective function. This led to a disruption of tissue homeostasis, rapid aging and the development of various pathologies, such as osteoporosis.
To study the relationship of the gene and stem cells, the scientists withdrew mice with noSox4in the stem cells of the hair follicles. They are responsible for the regeneration of the epidermis. However, it turned out that this only affected the early aging of the skin and protected mice from the development of skin cancer.
Scientists believe that in the absence of a geneSox4stem cells become less active, which suppresses the growth of tumors. This indicates a link between the regeneration processes in which stem cells participate and the mechanism of cancer development. The negative side of the revealed dependence is that the absence of the Sox4 gene causes a rapid aging of the organism. Additional studies will study this complex balance and use it to create new methods of cancer therapy.