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Mouse Study Suggests Rapamycin May Increase Longevity

Last Updated: July 10, 2009.

Rapamycin, an inhibitor of the mTOR pathway used to prevent rejection of transplanted organs, significantly extends the lifespan of aged mice, according to a study published online July 8 in Nature.

FRIDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- Rapamycin, an inhibitor of the mTOR pathway used to prevent rejection of transplanted organs, significantly extends the lifespan of aged mice, according to a study published online July 8 in Nature.

David E. Harrison, Ph.D., of the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, and colleagues administered rapamycin to 600-day-old mice, the equivalent of a 60-year-old human.

Compared to control mice, the researchers found that the female and male rapamycin-treated mice enjoyed an extended median and maximal life span of 14 percent and 9 percent, respectively, even though disease patterns were similar in controls and treated mice.

"Rapamycin may extend lifespan by postponing death from cancer, by retarding mechanisms of aging, or both," the authors conclude. "To our knowledge, these are the first results to demonstrate a role for mTOR signaling in the regulation of mammalian lifespan, as well as pharmacological extension of lifespan in both genders. These findings have implications for further development of interventions targeting mTOR for the treatment and prevention of age-related diseases."

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