Researchers discovered that a hormone that arises in men during puberty has an important role in determining whether a person would develop various diseases later in life.
The University of Nottingham researchers discovered that the new insulin-like peptide hormone INSL3, which is a critical early biomarker for predicting age-related illness, is constant across long periods of time. Frontiers in Endocrinology announced their latest study findings today. INSL3 is produced by the same cells in the testes that create testosterone, but unlike testosterone, which changes over a man’s lifespan, INSL3 is stable, with levels from puberty remaining essentially constant and falling just slightly until old age.
This makes it the first crystal-clear and trustworthy prognostic biomarker of age-related morbidity when compared to any other quantitative indication.
The findings show that blood levels of INSL3 are linked to a variety of age-related illnesses, including bone weakening, sexual dysfunction, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
According to the hormone’s continuous nature, a male who has high INSL3 when he is young would still have high INSL3. Someone who has low INSL3 from a young age, on the other hand, will continue to have low INSL3 as they age, making them more prone to acquiring typical age-related diseases. This opens up the exciting possibility of predicting age-related problems and determining how to intervene early to prevent these diseases from arising.
The study, coordinated by Professor Ravinder Anand-Ivell and Professor Richard Ivell, is the most recent of three on this hormone.
“The holy grail of ageing research is to reduce the fitness gap that appears as people age,” explains Professor Ravinder Anand-Ivell. “Understanding why some people are more likely to develop disabilities and diseases as they age is vital so that interventions can be found to ensure people not only live a long life but also a healthy life as they age. Our hormone discovery is an important step in understanding this and will pave the way for not only helping people individuals but also communities.”
The researchers looked at blood samples obtained twice, four years apart, from 3,000 males from eight regional centres in Europe’s north, south, east, and west, including the United Kingdom. The findings showed that, unlike testosterone, INSL3 levels in persons remain consistent.
The study also discovered a more than 10-fold variation in INSL3 blood concentration in the overall male population, even when they are young and in relatively excellent health.
Professor Richard Ivell stated, “Now that we know how significant this hormone is in predicting disease and how it varies across individuals, we’re looking into what factors have the biggest effect on the amount of INSL3 in the blood.”
Preliminary research shows that early life nutrition may have a role, although genetics and exposure to some environmental endocrine disruptors may also play a role.”