Navigation Links
Rapamycin: Limited anti-aging effects
Date:7/25/2013

This news release is available in German.

The findings are reported in the current issue of the "Journal of Clinical Investigation" (published online on July 25, 2013).

The body's repair mechanisms begin to fail with increasing age. As a result, signs of wear and tear appear and the risk for many diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders and cancer, increases. "Current efforts to develop therapies against age-related diseases target these disorders one by one," says Dr. Dan Ehninger, research group leader at the DZNE site in Bonn. "Influencing the aging process itself may be an alternative approach with the potential to yield broadly effective therapeutics against age-related diseases."

In this context, the substance rapamycin is noteworthy. Rapamycin is used in recipients of organ transplants, as it keeps the immune system in check and can consequently prevent rejection of the foreign tissue. In 2009, US scientists discovered another effect: Mice treated with rapamycin lived longer than their untreated counterparts. "Rapamycin was the first drug shown to extend maximal lifespan in a mammalian species. This study has created quite a stir," says Ehninger.

For Ehninger and his team, this finding motivated further studies: "We wanted to address if rapamycin slows down aging in mice or, alternatively, if it has an isolated effect on lifespan - without broadly modulating aging."

Not a youth elixir

Together with scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Mnchen and other colleagues, Ehninger's group investigated if rapamycin influences aging in mice. The results are sobering: "Our results indicate that rapamycin extends lifespan, but it has only limited effects on the aging process itself," is Ehninger's summary of the findings. "Most aging traits were not affected by rapamycin treatment. Although we did observe positive effects on some aging traits, such as memory impairments and reduced red blood cell counts, our studies showed that similar drug effects are also seen in young mice, indicating that rapamycin did not influence these measures by slowing aging, but rather via other, aging-independent, mechanisms."

The researchers believe that such aging-independent drug effects also underlie rapamycin's effect on lifespan. "We assume that the lifespan of mice is extended because rapamycin inhibits tumor formation. This is a well-known rapamycin effect, which we were able to confirm. Cancer is the leading cause of death in the relevant mouse strains" says the specialist in molecular medicine. "Rapamycin, therefore, seems to have isolated effects on specific life-limiting pathology, but lacks broad effects on aging in mice."

A comprehensive assessment of aging

The research team assessed more than 150 traits, which typically change during the course of aging. These analyses included an assessment of vision, reflexes, cardiovascular function, learning and behavior, immune functions and the integrity of the arterial wall, to just name a few. "Aging is a complex process, which cannot be captured by assessing a single parameter. This is why we analysed a large number of structural and functional signs of aging," explains Ehninger. "The present study is one of the most comprehensive assessments of a putative anti-aging intervention."

The analysis comprised three different age cohorts, in which rapamycin treatment was either initiated in young adulthood, in midlife or late in life. "At the time, the US study showed that rapamycin extends lifespan irrespective of whether the treatment is given to young or aged animals," says the Bonn-based researcher. "We, therefore, chose a study design, in the context of which we also investigated rapamycin's effects on different age groups. This enabled us to examine whether the possible effects of rapamycin depend on the age at which treatment started."

The animals were genetically identical twin mice. All of the animals received rapamycin regularly over a period of approximately one year. For each age cohort there was also a control group, which did not take the substance.

Need for comprehensive analyses

"Generally speaking, our studies show that a number of different parameters have to be considered when assessing the efficacy of possible anti-aging interventions. The interpretation of the data depends heavily on the overall picture of findings. Lifespan measures alone are not a reliable indicator of anti-aging effects," emphasises Ehninger. "This makes the search for anti-aging medicines tedious, but it is also very promising, because such substances could open up new possibilities for medicine. However, this is still some way off."


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Dirk Förger
presse@dzne.de
49-228-433-02260
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Oysters could rebound more quickly with limited fishing and improved habitat
2. Older US-born Mexican-Americans more physically limited than Mexican-American immigrants: Study
3. Most coral reefs are at risk unless climate change is drastically limited
4. Ducks Unlimited Canada and Canadian Light Source partnership to shed light on wetlands
5. Scientists sequence genome of sacred lotus, which likely holds anti-aging secrets
6. Hydrogen sulfide: The next anti-aging agent?
7. Anti-aging elixir for solar cells
8. Canadian girl, 16, invents disease-fighting, anti-aging compound using tree particles
9. Key target responsible for triggering detrimental effects in brain trauma identified
10. Adverse effects of phthalates on ovarian response to IVF
11. Time is of the essence for reducing the long-term effects of iron deficiency
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/15/2016)... Nov. 15, 2016  Synthetic Biologics, Inc. (NYSE ... focused on the gut microbiome, today announced the ... shares of its common stock and warrants to ... a price to the public of $1.00 per ... Biologics from the offering, excluding the proceeds, if ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... 2016  The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics ... as one of the fastest-growing trade shows during the ... Bellagio in Las Vegas . ... growth in each of the following categories: net square feet ... of attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ranked 23 ...
(Date:6/16/2016)... 16, 2016 The global ... to reach USD 1.83 billion by 2024, according ... Inc. Technological proliferation and increasing demand in commercial ... to drive the market growth.      ... The development of advanced multimodal techniques for biometric ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2016)... York , November 30, 2016 ... as a few players hold a dominant share in ... Charles River Laboratories International, Inc., and Merck KGaA, held ... in 2015. Transparency Market Research observes that these companies ... focused on development products that are do not require ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... Fla. , Nov. 30, 2016 Biotest ... products, is pleased to announce the addition of its ... Kearney, Nebraska . The 15,200 square ... on November 29th, 2016 and brings the total number ... Ileana Carlisle , BPC,s Chief Executive Officer ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... /PRNewswire/ -  Equicare Health Inc ., the leading supplier ... one of the top 100 companies in the 2016 ... distinguishes the top digital health companies across the globe. ... this year continually upgrading our product with the ongoing ... team," says Len Grenier , CEO of Equicare ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... BEIJING , Nov. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... of genomic services and solutions with cutting edge next-generation ... has completed a USD $75 Million [515 Million RMB] ... CMB International Capital Management ( Shenzhen ) ... Ltd. ("SDIC Innovation") and Shanghai Sigma Square Investment Center ...
Breaking Biology Technology: