Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rapamycin Slows Aging in Mice (in addition to increasing longevity)

Im the mid 1970's researchers from Montreal discovered an antibiotic in a soil sample from Easter Island (source). This antibiotic, known as Rapamycin, was eventually developed as a drug to be used with organ transplants as it is an immunosuppressant.

More recently Rapamycin has been tested for its effects on longevity and aging. Numberous studies have already show that this molecule increases longevity. See here, here, here, and here.

The latest issue of Aging Cell has this report on the effects the drug has on aging. The abstract:

Rapamycin increases lifespan in mice, but whether this represents merely inhibition of lethal neoplastic diseases, or an overall slowing in multiple aspects of aging is currently unclear. We report here that many forms of age-dependent change, including alterations in heart, liver, adrenal glands, endometrium, and tendon, as well as age-dependent decline in spontaneous activity, occur more slowly in rapamycin-treated mice, suggesting strongly that rapamycin retards multiple aspects of aging in mice, in addition to any beneficial effects it may have on neoplastic disease. We also note, however, that mice treated with rapamycin starting at 9 months of age have significantly higher incidence of testicular degeneration and cataracts; harmful effects of this kind will guide further studies on timing, dosage, and tissue-specific actions of rapamycin relevant to the development of clinically useful inhibitors of TOR action.