Blocking fat transport linked to longevity and life span

Blocking fat transport around the body helps increase the life span, research says.


Fat finding: Fat transport and storage matters to longevity, according to a new study. Here a store of mouse fat cells (red) is permeated by blood vessels (green); Credit: Daniela Malide, NHLBI/NIH

Published in the journal Autophagy, scientists who worked on nematodes say a naturally occuring protein, Vitellogenin (VIT), a worm yolk lipoprotein, transports fats in the body while hindering essential functions in cells thereby reducing the lifespan. This study says that by genetically blocking this protein, nematodes lived up to 40 percent longer!

A similar protein called apolipoprotein (apoB) is found in mice and humans which does the same action as well.

VIT and its ortholog apoB are the major decider of what happens to fat inside intestinal cells. They hinder lipophagy which catalyze fat breakdown. Based on the observations from the study, reducing the production of these lipoproteins allows increased lipophagy and the fat to be reused in different ways, thereby increasing the longevity.


Aside from controlling apoB, longevity was also associated with dietary restriction –  animals that eat less, produce less apoB and live longer.

In nematodes, the normal purpose of VIT is transporting fat from intestine to reproductive system to nourish eggs and to aid in reproduction. Similarly in mammals, a purpose of apoB is to transfer fats away from the intestine and liver toward other tissues where they can either be used or stored.

Silencing the protein in the worm extends its lifespan which gives a promising strategy to prevent age – related disease in humans, senior author of the study Louis Lapierre said.

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