The study published in February 7, 2006 issue of Current Biology (D.R.Valenzano, E.Terzibasi, T.Genade, A.Cattaneo, L. Domenici, A.Cellerino: Resveratrol prolongs lifespan and retards the onset of age-related markers in a short- lived vertebrate, Current Biology 16, 1-5, February 7, 2006) by Alessandro Cellerino of the Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa and Lay Line Genomics Spa, a private biotechnology company, provides for the first time the evidence that reveratrol, previously shown to extend lifespan in non-vertebrate organisms, can also do so in at least one vertebrate species. The findings support the potential utility of the compound in human aging research.
The development of drugs able to retard the onset of aging-related diseases and improve quality of life in the elderly is a growing focus of aging research and public health in modern society, and a great challenge for biotech and pharmaceutical industry. But the successful development of drugs aimed at aging-related diseases needs to face the challenge posed by the lifespan of the available animal models—mammalian models for aging are relatively long-lived and aren’t as easily studied as shorter-lived species.
Resveratrol is an organic compound naturally present in grapes—and particularly enriched in red wine—and was previously shown to prolong lifespan in non-vertebrate model organisms such as yeast, the worm C. elegans, and the fruit fly Drosophila. However, until now, life-long pharmacological trials were performed in the worm or fly model organisms because of their very small size, very short natural lifespan, and affordable cultivation costs. Laboratory mice, on the other hand, live more than two years and are relatively expensive to maintain, making large-scale, life-long pharmacological trials in mice unaffordable.
Recently, the seasonal fish Nothobranchius furzeri, a small fish species with captive lifespan of only three months, was described by Cellerino and colleagues; Lay Line Genomics a company focused on neurodegenerative and ageing related diseases, has developed this organism into a unique animal model to isolate new molecular targets controlling aging in vertebrates and for screening anti-aging compounds (T.Genade, M.Benedetti, E.Terzibasi, P.Roncaglia, D.R.Valenzano, A.Cattaneo, A.Cellerino: Annual fishes of the genus Nothobranchius as a model system for ageing research, Aging Cells, 2005)
The researchers used this short-lived fish as an animal model to test the effects of resveratrol on aging-related physiological decay. They added resveratrol to daily fish food and found that this treatment increased longevity and also retarded the onset of aging-related decays in memory and muscular performance.
Resveratrol appears to be the first molecule to consistently cause life extension across very different animal groups such as worms, insects, and fish, and it could become the starting molecule for the design of drugs for the prevention of human aging-related diseases. The use of resveratrol for ageing-related diseases as well as the use of Nothobranchius furzeri as a model for the study of aging and age-relate diseases is covered by Lay Line Genomics patents.
(C) 2006 - Lay Line Genomics
Message posted by: Frank S. Zollmann
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