Ageing: discovery of the anti-inflammatory role of a class of lipids in the brain

Ageing discovery of the anti inflammatory role of a class of

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    Dr Christophe de Jaeger (Longevity and geriatrics)

    American researchers have just discovered the anti-inflammatory role of a class of lipids present in the brain, the SGDGs. These molecules decrease with age, thus causing cerebral senescence. Dr. Christophe de Jaeger, physiologist, sheds light on them.

    The brain still holds many mysteries and scientists regularly discover crucial information about its functioning. One of the latest discoveries concerns a particular class of lipids, SGDGs or 3-sulfogalactosyl diacylglycerols.

    Research in mice

    Researchers from the Salk Institute and the University of California at San Diego in the United States have discovered the involvement of these lipids in cerebral aging. To do this, they studied the lipid profiles of mouse brains at different ages in their lives, ranging from one to 18 months. For this, they used the technique of liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Analyzing this data allowed them to establish the age-related patterns in the huge lipid profiles. The team then constructed SGDG molecules and tested them for their biological activity.

    Different lipid levels

    The scientists, whose study was published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology on October 20, 2022, find three things in the brains of mice:

    • lipid levels are very different in older mice than in younger mice;
    • all SGDG family members and associated lipids change significantly with age;
    • SGDGs can be regulated by processes known to regulate aging.

    Anti-inflammatory effects

    Additionally, the results of this work demonstrate that SGDGs possess anti-inflammatory properties, which could have implications for neurodegenerative disorders and other neurological conditions that involve increased inflammation in the brain.

    “These SGDGs clearly play an important role in aging, and this finding opens up the possibility that there are other critical aging pathways that we miss,” says Alan Saghatelian, one of the study’s authors, a professor at Salk’s Clayton Foundation Laboratories for Peptide Biology.

    The team also found that SGDGs exist in the brains of humans and primates, suggesting that SGDGs may play an important role in animals other than mice.

    The opinion of Dr Christophe de Jaeger, physiologist

    “SGDGs are molecules that have been known for about fifty years, and it is not only found in the brain but also in a certain number of peripheral pathologies” first indicates the specialist. “These are lipids that will inhibit genes linked to inflammation, which helps to reduce brain inflammation. They therefore certainly have a protective role on brain senescence, which we know that inflammation plays a role in the neurodegenerative pathologies”.