Enzyme Discovery Could Lead to Life-Extending Drugs
US researchers have discovered a way of increasing the activity of
potent anti-aging enzymes called sirtuins. David Sinclair of Harvard
Medical School and colleagues found several biologically active
compounds that can more than double sirtuin activity. One of these
compounds was resveratrol, the antioxidant that is largely
responsible for the health benefits of red wine. When the scientists
added some of these compounds to yeast cells growing in culture, the
cells produced 70% more daughter cells than normal the production
of daughter cells is a reliable indicator of yeasts youthfulness.
Tests on human cells also produced promising results. Those treated
with sirtuin boosters lived long lives in the lab, even after
exposure to DNA-damaging ionizing radiation, which normally shortens
the lifespan of a cell. Furthermore, preliminary results of ongoing
experiments suggest that these compounds can extend the lifespan of a
nematode worm known as C. elegans, and the fruit fly. Sinclair says
that his findings suggest that sirtuins serve as guardians of the
celland allow cells to survive damage and delay cell death
Sinclairs work adds further support to the increasingly popular
theory that sirtuins control aging in virtually all living organisms.
Therefore, it may be that sirtuin boosters will provide us with a
potent class of anti-aging drugs and possibly the much longed for
fountain of youth.