Mekayla Storer, and her colleagues in Barcelona, and Daniel Muñoz-Espín, and his colleagues in Madrid, just published interesting findings about death. When a cell dies, it was always assumed that it is in response to age, stress or trauma. In fact, the anti-aging industry is built upon the foundation of stopping cell death with the hope of making us immortal. But these Spanish researchers have shown that cell death is a necessary process for development. That in order for other cells to grow they need some of the cells to die first and create a pattern. What is unique in these studies is that the information comes not from older adults but from studies on the embryo.
For the first time, there is evidence showing that cell death is programmed in order for specific organs to be able to develop. Cell death is not only a part of development but is a required part it. They are like the advance party that charts out a territory and then die, sending out directions for the main party. In the embryo, when a cell dies, its death instructs new tissue growth. The necessity of cell death has been shown to help control normal limb formation, nervous system development, development of kidneys and ear formation.
These studies are showing that cell death is a necessary part of development of normal organs. This is new. Such studies are a death knoll to the anti-aging industry, since such knowledge destroys the concept of eradicating cell death in order to gain immortality. Cell death is a necessary process in order to pave the way for other cells to grow and to enable the growth of different parts of our bodies.
The process is determined by how the dead cells are cleaned by specialized cells that leave behind them a pattern that is followed by the new cells. When cells do not die, then there are problems with development. It is no wonder that birth defects are in parts of the embryos where these dead cells occur. The death of cells and how they are cleaned up is instrumental for the normal growth of cells.
This is important for older adults because dying cells and how they are cleaned up have complementary functions in cancer. We do not know the exact relationship (whether one encourages the other or not) but we know that they are related because we can listen to them communicating. Cells communicate in short distances—known as paracrine—and long distances—through hormones and endocrine system. This language could be what differentiates good dying cells from bad dying cells—cancer. Good dying cells have a different short distance message from cancer cells. Good dying cells might call out to the cleaner cells while cancer cells give short messages that keep the cleaner cells away. How these two different types of dying cells work in aging is still unknown, but we now know that cell death communicate with those living cells. Can you hear me now?
© USA Copyrighted 2013 Mario D. Garrett