Wine Makes Fish Live Longer
By Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News
Feb. 15, 2006— A red fountain of youth makes vertebrates, and possibly humans, live longer and feel better, according to a new study by Italian researchers on a species of short-lived fish.
Neuroscientist Alessandro Cellerino at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy, and colleagues report in the February issue of Current Biology that resveratrol, an organic compound found in red grapes and wine, "prolongs lifespan and retards the expression of age-dependent traits in a short-lived vertebrate."
Cellerino's team investigated Nothobranchius furzeri, a small fish species that lives just three months in captivity.
The researchers tested different doses of resveratrol on 157 fish. Thirty fish received a small dose in their regular food, 60 received a medium dose and 20 received a large one. A control group of 47 fish had their insect larvae meal without resveratrol. While the control and low-dose fish saw no significant benefits, the fish who received only a medium dose of the compound lived up to 27 percent longer.
Resveratrol also delayed "motor and cognitive age-related decline" in old fish. Dissection showed that the neurons in the brains of resveratrol-fed fish did not decay as quickly as those of the control group.
Resveratrol is one of a group of compounds called phytoalexins that are synthesized by plants to protect them from environmental stress, fungal infections or severe weather.
The compound, particularly concentrated in red wines, has already proved effective in prolonging the lifespan in non-vertebrates such as yeast, the worm Caenorhabditis elegans and the fruit fly Drosophila.
Acccording to David Sinclair, professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School who discovered resveratrol's life-extending properties on yeast, fungi and flies, the study is a "milestone, as it is the first example of a molecule that can greatly extend the lifespan of a vertebrate, and the first ever that works across different species, from yeast, to worms, to flies, to fish."
"I believe that resveratrol is the precursor to a new class of drugs that will one day prevent and treat numerous diseases of old age by activating the body's own defenses against disease and aging," Sinclair told Discovery News.
MEDICAL NEWS UK
Resveratrol Prolongs Lifespan And Delays Onset Of Aging-related Traits In A Short-lived Vertebrate
Article Date: 13 Feb 2006 - 0:00am (UK)
By studying a particularly short-lived fish species, researchers have been able to show that a natural compound previously shown to extend lifespan in non-vertebrate organisms can also do so in at least one vertebrate species. The findings, reported by Alessandro Cellerino of the Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, and colleagues, 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. 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, a small fish species with a captive lifespan of only three months was described by Cellerino and colleagues. In the new work, the researchers used this short-lived fish to test the effects of resveratrol on aging-related physiological decay. The researchers 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 drugs for the prevention of human aging-related diseases.
The researchers include Dario R. Valenzano of Scuola Normale Superiore in
Pisa, Italy; Alessandro Cellerino of Scuola Normale Superiore and Istituto
di Neuroscienze del CNR in Pisa Italy; Eva Terzibasi and Tyrone Genade of
Istituto di Neuroscienze del CNR in Pisa Italy; Antonino Cattaneo of European
Brain Research Institute and Lay Line Genomics S.p.A. in Rome, Italy; Luciano
Domenici of Istituto di Neuroscienze del CNR in Pisa, Italy and Universita
dell'Aquila in L'Aquila, Italy. This work was financed by Lay Line Genomics
S.p.A., which holds the rights for commercial exploitation of the model.
Valenzano et al.: "Resveratrol Prolongs Lifespan and Retards the Onset of Age-RelatedMarkers in a Short-Lived Vertebrate." Publishing in Current Biology 16, 296-300, February 7, 2006. DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2005.12.038. http://www.current-biology.com