Wrinkles and baldness ‘can be reversed’ as scientists discover way to ‘turn off’ gene responsible for ageing

Wrinkles and hair loss could soon be a thing of the past after scientists found an “unprecedented” way to reverse the signs of ageing.

Researchers identified and turned off a gene mutation in mice that causes skin to become lined and hair to thin out.

It could mean that humans are also able to retain youthful looks as they grow older.

Scientists at the University of Alabama, in Birmingham, induced a mutation that led to wrinkles and balding in mice.

But they were able to reverse the effects by turning off a gene responsible for “mitochondrial dysfunction”, which refers to problems within the body’s cells.

The mice then regained smooth skin and thick fur, according to the study.

Prof Keshav Singh said: “Wrinkled skin and hair loss are obvious features of skin ageing and ageing-associated phenotypic changes in humans.

“We discovered these ageing-associated phenotypic changes could be reversed by restoring mitochondrial DNA content to wild-type level. This observation is unprecedented.”

The mutation is in a gene affecting mitochondrial function, the tiny organelles known as the powerhouses of cells. A decline in mitochondrial function happens with ageing and can drive age-related diseases.

A depletion of the DNA in mitochondria is also implicated in conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.