A blood pressure drug may extend lifespan and improve health, suggests study

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Researchers from the University of Liverpool have discovered that rilmenidine, a drug typically used to treat high blood pressure, can potentially extend lifespan and improve healthspan in animals.

This study indicates the possibility of repurposing existing drugs to combat the aging process and develop new therapies for aging-related diseases.

Study Details and Findings

The process of aging involves a decline in physiological function and an increased vulnerability to disease.

Caloric restriction—a dietary approach involving reduced calorie intake while maintaining adequate nutrient intake—has been linked to increased lifespan in animals.

However, its impact on humans has yielded mixed results and side effects.

To find a solution without such side effects, scientists have investigated drugs like metformin, rapamycin, and resveratrol, although these present limitations such as the need for injection, low bioavailability, and severe side effects.

In contrast, the researchers found that administering rilmenidine to animals, both at a young and older age, increased lifespans and improved health markers, effectively mimicking the benefits of caloric restriction.

The study identified the I1-imidazoline receptor nischarin-1 as the mediator of the lifespan and healthspan benefits derived from rilmenidine treatment, suggesting that this receptor could potentially be targeted to promote longevity.

Implications and Future Directions

Rilmenidine is an oral high-blood pressure medication that is widely prescribed and has fewer and non-severe side effects, making it a potential candidate for future human trials in the treatment of aging.

With an aging global population, the benefits of delaying the aging process, even slightly, can have significant impacts.

Repurposing drugs capable of extending lifespan and healthspan presents untapped potential in translational geroscience.

Further research is needed to understand the mechanisms behind rilmenidine’s effects and to ascertain its potential clinical applications.

However, this study provides hope for the development of novel therapies for aging-related diseases.

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