Discovery of previously unknown mechanism may someday aid in battle against Alzheimer’s

The body’s ability to adapt to changing conditions and shifting physiologic demands is essential to its survival. To ensure cellular performance and the health of the entire organism, each cell must be able to dispose of damaged or unnecessary proteins.

Now, a study from the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School (HMS) shows that intense exercise, fasting, and an array of hormones can activate cells’ built-in protein-disposal systems and enhance their ability to purge defective, toxic, or unneeded proteins.

The findings, published Feb. 19 in PNAS, reveal a previously unknown mechanism that is triggered by fluctuations in hormone levels, which signal changes in physiologic conditions.

 

Credit: Amanda Mills CDC

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