Genes linked to mood, stress can impact longevity

New York: The visible impact of depression and stress that can be seen on a person's face can also be found in alterations in genetic activity linked to longevity, a study says. "We were looking for genes that might be at the interface between mood, stress and longevity," said one of the researchers Alexander Niculescu, professor at Indiana University School of Medicine in the US. "We have found a series of genes involved in mood disorders and stress disorders which also seem to be involved in longevity,” Niculescu noted. In particular, the research pointed to a gene known as ANK3 as playing a key role in affecting longevity. "Our subsequent analyses of these genes found that they change in expression with age, and that people subject to significant stress and/or mood disorders had a shift in expression levels of these genes that would be associated with premature ageing and reduced longevity" Niculescu explained. The research was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. “These studies uncover ANK3 and other genes in our dataset as biological links between mood, stress and lifespan, that may be biomarkers for biological age as well as targets for personalised preventive or therapeutic interventions," the authors said.