Irwin Kee Mun Cheah, Ph.D., Feng Lei, D.Phil., and Barry Halliwell, PhD, D.Sc., National University of Singapore
Competition Sponsor: Ministry of Health and National Research Foundation of Singapore
The naturally occurring thione, ergothioneine, accumulates in the human body at high concentrations primarily from diet. Studies suggest this compound may play an important physiological role, however this has yet to be fully elucidated. We have recently observed that blood levels of ergothioneine significantly decline with age and onset of certain neurodegenerative disorders. We propose that the decline in blood ergothioneine levels may be a factor predisposing elderly to age-related conditions, and as such supplementing this compound may prevent or delay the onset of those conditions and prolong healthy longevity. This proposal will uncover the associations between ergothioneine levels, the onset of age-related disorders, and biomarkers of oxidative damage and inflammation in elderly subjects and help establish a baseline for healthy levels of ergothioneine in the blood. Furthermore, the study aims to investigate the possible mechanisms of protection by ergothioneine using a range of cell and animal models. This proposal lays the foundations for future clinical studies into prophylactic and therapeutic supplementation of ergothioneine for a range of age-related chronic disorders.
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