Plant-Derived Molecule Shows Promise in Slowing Aging: Breakthrough Study from Buck Institute

Plant-Derived Molecule Shows Promise in Slowing Aging: Breakthrough Study from Buck Institute

Researchers at the Buck Institute in California have uncovered a promising “drug-like” molecule that appears to decelerate the aging process by maintaining the health of cells’ powerhouse—mitochondria.

This breakthrough, centered around a compound known as Mitophagy-Inducing Compound (MIC), holds significant potential in the field of geroscience.

Testing on Worms and Lifespan Extension:

The team conducted experiments on tiny ringworms, administering MIC to observe its effects.

Remarkably, the worms exhibited an average lifespan extension of 20 days, with some individuals living beyond 30 days.

MIC achieves this by influencing a receptor shared with humans, suggesting potential implications for human applications.

Links to Mitophagy and Aging Diseases:

The study, published in Nature Aging, underscores the connection between mitophagy—the cell’s garbage and recycling center—and aging.

Drugs enhancing this process, such as MIC, could offer treatment avenues beyond neurodegeneration and muscle wasting.

Improved mitochondrial function was identified as the key factor in the extended lifespan observed in the worms.

Mitochondria’s Role and Age-Related Slowdown:

Mitochondria, responsible for producing cellular energy, play a crucial role in maintaining cell function.

As cells naturally clear out worn-out mitochondria through mitophagy, this process slows with age.

The age-related slowdown of mitophagy is implicated in various diseases, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, heart failure, obesity, and muscle loss.

MIC: A Natural Molecule and Mechanism of Action:

MIC, belonging to the class of coumarins found in plants like cinnamon and tonka beans, was identified as a potent mitophagy inducer.

The compound works upstream of a key protein, TFEB, blocking the action of a receptor protein named DAF.

Understanding the mechanism involved contributes to the potential development of therapeutics targeting age-related disorders.

Gut-Brain Connection and Ongoing Research:

The study sheds light on the brain-gut connection, revealing that bile salts in the gut influence the FXR protein, which regulates TFEB levels.

An imbalanced microbiome, common with aging, can impact mitophagy.

The ongoing exploration of FXR’s role in Alzheimer’s disease further deepens the understanding of the brain-gut axis and its implications for overall health.

Future Implications:

The discovery of MIC opens new possibilities in the quest to understand and mitigate the aging process.

While the molecule is not yet available as a supplement for aging, the study emphasizes the importance of sleep, diet, and exercise in supporting healthy aging.

As research progresses, the potential translation of these findings to human applications holds promise for advancing anti-aging interventions.

World News

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