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Born to be young? Prenatal thyroid hormones affect “biological age” at birth



Born to be young? Prenatal thyroid hormones affect

The flytrap eggs are illuminated in order to specifically inject thyroid hormone into the yolk.Image Credit: Tom Saloud

The environment provided by the mother during embryonic development will have a major impact on future health and longevity. This may be due to the effect on cell senescence, and can usually be estimated by the length of telomeres. Telomeres are the protective end caps of chromosomes, and the length of telomeres is a sign of biological age.


Although telomeres generally shorten with age, shorter telomeres at a given age indicate a higher risk of disease and death. It has been previously discovered that prenatal exposure to maternal stress hormones and instability during embryonic development can cause telomeres to become shorter, which accelerates cell senescence.

A new study jointly funded by the Academy of Sciences of Finland and the Turku Academy of Sciences and Medicine controls prenatal exposure to pregnant women̵

7;s thyroid hormones by injecting eggs in a poultry model.

“Compared with traditional laboratory models, human telomere biology is closer to bird telomere biology. In humans and birds, telomere length is measured from a small amount of blood samples using minimally invasive methods. “Collegium researcher Antoine Stier said. University of Turku (Finland), lead author of research articles.

Although the authors of the study had reason to expect that chickens born from eggs injected with thyroid hormone had shorter telomeres, they were surprised to find that these chickens actually exhibited longer telomeres after birth.

Born to be young? Prenatal thyroid hormones affect

Two-day-old flytrap chicks were processed and individually labeled with nail clippers, weighing and blood samples. Image source: Antoine Stier

“Based on the natural decline in telomere length observed with age in the same flycatcher population, we estimate that chicks hatched from thyroid hormone-injected eggs are about four years younger than chicks hatched from control eggs.”

Although the molecular mechanism of this effect remains to be discovered, new findings suggest that prenatal thyroid hormone may play a role in determining the “biological age” at birth.

Stray said: “Considering the interest and controversy surrounding human gene therapy trials to lengthen telomeres as an anti-aging therapy, this discovery opens up a potential way to better understand the effects of telomere lengthening in animal models.”

The research is a long-term monitoring population of wild collar flycatcher breeding in Gotland, and extensive cooperation with Uppsala University (Sweden), Lyon, Glasgow and Aberdeen University.


Women’s life expectancy is related to the age of the last child


More information:
Antoine Stier et al. Born to be young? Prenatal thyroid hormones increase the early telomere length of wild collar flycatchers, Biological letter (2020). DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2020.0364

Courtesy of Turku University

Citation: Born to be young? Prenatal thyroid hormones will affect the “biological age” at birth (November 11, 2020). This phenomenon will be released from https://phys.org/news/2020-11-born-young on November 12, 2020. -prenatal-thyroid-hormones.html access.

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