Scientists have found that activating a protein called sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) extended the lives of mice and delayed the onset of age-related diseases. The discovery could lead to drugs that help to keep people younger and healthier
A pill which could ward off ageing has come a step closer after tests of a rejuvenating drug that prolongs healthy life.
Scientists found that activating a protein called sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) extended the lives of mice and delayed the onset of age-related diseases.
They believe their experiments could lead to drugs that help to keep people younger and healthier.
SIRT1 and its sister protein SIRT2 are known to play a important roles in metabolism across a wide range of species.
They are involved in DNA repair and gene regulation, and may help to prevent diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Researchers led by Rafael de Cabo, from the US National Institutes of Health, tested the effects of a SIRT1-activating molecule called SRT1720 on the health and lifespan of mice.
Animals were fed a standard diet supplemented with 100 milligrams per kilogram of body weight of SRT1720 from the age of six months.
The researchers found that SRT1720 significantly extended the average lifespan of mice by 8.8%. Mice fed the molecule were also lighter and slimmer, with better muscle function and co-ordination throughout their lives.
Further studies showed that SRT1720 supplementation led to a heart-protective lowering of harmful cholesterol and improved insulin sensitivity, which could help prevent diabetes.
Anti-inflammatory effects were also seen in various tissues. This is important because chronic low-level inflammation is believed to contribute to ageing and age-related diseases.
“Here, we show for the first time that a synthetic SIRT1 activator extends lifespan and improves healthspan of mice fed a standard diet,” said Dr de Cabo.
“It illustrates that we can develop molecules that ameliorate the burden of metabolic and chronic diseases associated with ageing.”
The research is published in the journal Cell Reports.
Previous research has found that eating barbecued, grilled or fried meat could increase the risk of being struck down by dementia.
US experts found that compounds called advanced glycation end products, or Ages, suppress the anti-ageing enzyme known as Sirt1.
Protein-rich foods that are cooked at very high temperatures raise the level of these harmful Ages in blood.