A gene mutation causing wrinkled skin and hair loss has been successfully reversed.

The feat was accomplished by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in a mice model.

When a mutation leading to mitochondrial dysfunction was induced, the mouse developed wrinkled skin and extensive, visible hair loss in a matter of weeks.

But after the mitochondrial function was restored by turning off the gene responsible for mitochondrial dysfunction, the mouse returned to smooth skin and thick fur, indistinguishable from a healthy mouse of the same age.

“To our knowledge, this observation is unprecedented,” said Keshav Singh, a professor of genetics in the UAB School of Medicine.

“This mouse model should provide an unprecedented opportunity for the development of preventive and therapeutic drug development strategies to augment the mitochondrial functions for the treatment of ageing-associated skin and hair pathology and other human diseases in which mitochondrial dysfunction plays a significant role.”

In human beings, a loss in mitochondrial function is seen during ageing, and mitochondrial dysfunction can drive age-related diseases.

A depletion of the DNA in mitochondria is also observed to be involved in human mitochondrial stress, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, age-associated neurological disorders and cancer.

The scientists are now hoping to replicate the successful reversal in humans.



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