To better understand the role of bacteria in health and disease, researchers at the National Institutes of Health fed fruit flies with antibiotics and monitored hundreds of genes that scientists traditionally believed to control aging. Flies, but it also drastically changes the activity of many of these genes.
Their results showed that only about 30% of the genes traditionally associated with aging determine the animal’s internal biological clock, while the rest reflect the body’s response to bacteria. The results came out randomly, while Dr. Giniger was studying the genetics of aging in a fruit fly called Drosophila. The team previously demonstrated how an overactive immune system can play a key role in nerve damage that causes various age-related brain diseases.
However, this research did not help finding and checking the role of bacteria in this process. To test this idea, they used antibiotics to breed new male fruit flies to prevent bacterial growth. At first, they thought that antibiotics had little effect. But when they looked at the results, they found something interesting: antibiotics extended the lifespan of the flies by about 6 days, from 57 days for the control flies to 63 days for the treated flies.
In general, the genetic activity of fruit flies treated with antibiotics has changed dramatically. Regardless of their actual age, the treated flies are genetically similar to 30-day-old control flies. This seems to be due to the flat line of activity of approximately 70% of the genes studied by the researchers, many of which are believed to be that the researchers tested the effects of antibiotics on these genes by starving some flies or starving some flies. Infecting others with harmful bacteria, and there is no obvious trend.
The survival time of starvation or infection is longer than usual, while in other age groups, the drugs do not work or reduce the chance of survival. They analyzed the lifespan of the fruit flies in the remaining 30% of the genes. Therefore, in flies fed antibiotics, the activity of these genes changes with age more slowly than usual.
Interestingly, many of these genes are known to control the sleep-wake cycle, recognize odors, and maintain the exoskeleton or brittle shell around flies. Experiments on the sleep-wake cycle confirmed the connection between these genes and aging. This trend declines with age, and this trend is exacerbated by antibiotic treatment of flies.