In a new study from China and the U.S., researchers found that injecting a chemical found in grape seed extract into older mice could extend their lifespan.
They described the link between the chemical PCC1 and extended lifespan in mice.
Scientists have been trying for many years to understand the aging process. The hope is that once it is understood, mitigation efforts can slow or stop the process to allow people to live longer or to live in a more healthy way as they age.
In this study, the researchers screened 46 plant extracts looking for anti-aging capabilities. They came across PCC1.
Initial tests during screening showed it reduced the number of senescent cells in the human prostate.
Such cells are known to contribute to aging. Intrigued with their results, the researchers tested it further.
They found that at low doses it prevented senescent cells from contributing to inflammation, and at higher doses killed them outright without harming other cells.
The team then injected 171 mice with PCC1, 91 of whom were considered to be old. They found that this increased the overall lifespan of the mice by 9% and their remaining lifespans by 60%, on average.
The researchers also injected younger mice with the extract chemical over a period of four months and found it improved their physical fitness.
They then injected mice with cancer and found that doing so helped to shrink tumors when given in conjunction with chemotherapy. They also found it did the same with human tumor cells implanted into mice.
The researchers note that in all of their testing, they found no damage to normal cells, which suggests that PCC1 could be a promising treatment for many health conditions and could very well reduce some of the negative impacts of aging.
They conclude that more work is required to further test its effectiveness and to ensure that it does not result in negative side effects.
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The study is published in Nature Metabolism. One author of the study is Qixia Xu.
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