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Nutrients control intestinal stem cell function and impact aging

University of Helsinki researchers discovered a novel link between nutrient adaptation in intestinal stem cells and ageing, offering insights into maintaining gut function as individuals age. The delicate balance of gut cells, influenced by nutrition, changes with age, but understanding the impact on stem cell division and differentiation remains complex.

Their study unveiled a regulatory mechanism governing intestinal stem cell differentiation in response to varying nutrient conditions. Nutrient-induced signaling prompts stem cell enlargement, dictating their differentiation. Flexible control over stem cell size allows adjustment to dietary cues, facilitating appropriate differentiation.

Regional variations in nutrient adaptation across the gut suggest nuanced regulation. Ageing diminishes intestinal stem cells' ability to respond to nutrient changes, resulting in constant enlargement hindering differentiation.

Intermittent fasting emerged as a potential intervention to preserve stem cell function in older animals. Previous studies linking fasting to lifespan extension now find support in its ability to maintain stem cell flexibility with age.

These findings underscore nutrient adaptation's importance in intestinal stem cell function and its implications for ageing, offering insights into promoting healthy ageing.