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How Seeing Corpses Reduces The Lifespan Of Flies

Researchers at the University of Michigan, led by Christi Gendron, discovered a relationship between death awareness and slowed aging in flies and how seeing corpses reduces the lifespan of flies.

Tyrese Griffin
Jun 15, 20238468 Shares136586 Views
Researchers at the University of Michigan, led by Christi Gendron, discovered a relationship between death awareness and slowed aging in flies and how seeing corpses reduces the lifespan of flies.

Impact Of Death Awareness On Aging In Flies

Their latest study, published on June 13 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology, indicates that when flies encounter other deceased flies, a specific group of brain cells called R2 and R4 neurons are active and that this higher activity leads to faster aging.
The process of aging is a complicated one that can be affected by a person's genes as well as the environment in which they live. Even while we are aware that one's life experiences can have an effect on aging, the mechanism by which this happens is still largely a mystery.
One illustration of this might be the effect of "depth perception" in fruit flies. When fruit flies encounter other fruit flies that have died, they undergo rapid aging, and this effect is dependent on a particular type of serotonin receptor.

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This information was previously revealed by the University of Michigan. In their most recent follow-up study, the researchers describe this procedure in detail.
An investigation into the behavior of fruit flies led to the identification of the neuronal population at fault. Using fluorescent tagging, researchers were able to determine that the ellipsoid body region of the fly brain became more active after being exposed to dead flies.
The silencing of individual ring neurons in this region indicated that the impact required two separate types of ring neurons, R2 and R4. Subsequent research demonstrated that the critical component is the serotonin receptor 5-HT2A which is located in these neurons.
Finally, the researchers demonstrated that artificially activating these neurons reduced fruit fly lifespans even when the flies did not experience any death sense.
Understanding how brain networks like these govern aging could lead to specific pharmacological therapies that delay the aging process in humans.
Scott Pletcher, a co-author, adds, "We identified specific neurons and evolutionarily conserved molecules in the fly brain that help tune rates of aging in response to environmental conditionsand experiences."
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