When is it OK to cut and replace cell structure?
A new study suggests that cells should not be destroyed in an attempt to preserve the cell structure they possess.
In a study published today in the journal Science, researchers led by David DeFilippis and colleagues at the University of Michigan School of Medicine in Ann Arbor compared the health of cells of different species and found that destroying cells can actually make them healthier.
“What we found is that destroying cell structure, even though it’s an important step in maintaining a healthy cell, does not confer health benefits,” DeFollis said.
“The cells that have that structure will not survive the environment, they’ll just get smaller.”
The researchers found that the cells that are destroyed tend to have fewer genes than those that were not.
“It’s not the cell that’s failing, it’s the cells in the environment that are failing,” DeCollis explained.
“There are fewer genes, fewer proteins, fewer enzymes, fewer cell surface receptors.”
Cell loss, DeFossi explained, is a natural response to environmental stresses that lead to cell death.
Cells that survive this way have a longer life span, healthier immune systems, and less cancer, diabetes, and other disease.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.