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Novel biomarkers for ageing and metabolic health

Prof. Adam Antebi, Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing

Max Planck Innovation


Biomarkers of ageing have long been sought after to help assess the biological age and general health status of individuals. Considerable efforts have been invested to identify such biomarkers, including physiologic readouts, metabolic parameters, glycomic profiles and others. Nevertheless, markers with strong predictive power have remained elusive.


Researchers of the Max Planck have discovered that many longevity pathways converge on the nucleolus, a nuclear subcompartment that is the cellular site of ribosomal RNA synthesis, ribosome biogenesis, and assembly of various ribonucleoprotein particles.

Furthermore, they found a striking inverse correlation between nucleolar size and longevity in C. elegans. In humans, they could show that muscle biopsies from individuals who underwent modest dietary restriction coupled with exercise also displayed small nucleoli.

Commercial Opportunity

This work suggests that small nucleoli are a visible hallmark of longevity and metabolic health, and that molecules associated with nucleolar function might serve as predictive, causal biomarkers of life expectancy.

Development Status

Early research

Patent Situation

A PCT application was filed on March 2nd, 2018

Further Reading

DOI: 10.1038/ncomms16083


Novel biomarkers for ageing and metabolic health