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Tuesday, October 03, 2017

What is the Klotho Protein, and What is its Role in Aging?

The klotho protein has been hailed by biologists around the world as having the potential to help slow the aging process, as well as slow the progression of common age-related health problems (like heart disease and kidney failure). But what is klotho protein, and what is its role in aging?
Read on for an overview of the klotho protein, which will provide you with the information you need about its potential use in the field of anti-aging medicine.

What is the Klotho protein?

Klotho is a protein encoded by the Klotho gene (or “KL” gene), which was originally identified in mice as a protein that extends their lifespan when overexpressed.  This means that mice whose bodies produce more klotho protein tend to have longer lifespans than those who produce less of it.  In fact, mice with lower-than-average levels of klotho protein tend to see more signs of aging earlier than those with higher klotho levels.

Klotho is most known for regulating vitamin D and mineral metabolism, and may have some effect on heart and kidney health. Scientists have found an unexpected connection between human metabolism and the specific way that the klotho gene ages. This has led some scientists to believe that the klotho protein might be able to slow down the human aging process, theoretically preventing some age-related illnesses.

Doctors have theorized that the klotho protein might be able to play a role in shrinking tumors, reducing diabetes symptoms, slowing aging and improving cognitive function.  One review of multiple studies found that reduced klotho production may be linked to a higher prevalence of coronary artery disease, and that “high Klotho gene expression was independently associated with lower risk for CAD.” These findings have generated interest within the scientific community around assessing whether klotho protein could be used to prevent disease and extend human lifespan.

How is the klotho protein involved in the aging process? It’s clear that there is a connection between klotho protein and the aging process, with many scientists theorizing that it may be able to be used to extend the lifespan of a human being.

Scientists with the Mayo Clinic have reported that the klotho protein might act as an aging suppressor (in addition to suppressing the growth of tumors). Researchers noted that klotho levels in older mice, rats and monkeys were substantially diminished. They observed that, in all the brain tumors they studied - klotho was “downregulated” (it’s production was reduced) - which leads many scientists to believe that klotho could be used to treat brain tumors.

While many studies have focused on the effects of a lack of klotho, it has been shown that increasing a mouse’s klotho levels can increase lifespan among many other benefits. According to many members of the scientific community, it might be possible to see a similar effect in humans.

What are scientists doing now?


A number of scientific studies are currently under way with the goal of assessing the klotho protein’s ability to extend a person’s lifespan, as well as help treat brain tumors, coronary artery disease, stroke, and kidney failure. Biotech companies like Klotho Therapeutics are conducting research and making klotho protein available to the public in a clinical setting.

In the future, many are optimistic that the klotho protein could be used to decelerate the progression of age-related diseases, and change the way that we think about aging. Though we’re far from having klotho come into common use by general practitioners in the United States, the benefits are becoming clearer with each published study.

Sources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3110841/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24813892

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4176932/

https://mayoclinic.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/the-anti-aging-and-tumor-suppressor-protein-klotho-enhances-diffe

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110218165252.htm

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0085253815524605

This is a guest blog entry.

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