15 Theory 7: Cross-linkage Theory

  • The cross-linking theory, also referred to as the glycosylation theory of aging, was proposed by Johan Bjorksten in 1942.
  • According to this theory, an accumulation of cross-linked proteins damages cells and tissues, slowing down bodily processes resulting in aging.
  • Recent studies show that cross-linking reactions are involved in the age related changes in the studied proteins.
  • In this theory it is the binding of glucose (simple sugars) to protein, (a process that occurs under the presence of oxygen) that causes various problems.
  • Once this binding has occurred the protein becomes impaired and is unable to perform as efficiently.
  • Living a longer life is going to lead to the increased possibility of oxygen meeting glucose and protein and known cross-linking disorders include senile cataract and the appearance of tough, leathery and yellow skin.


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