Unexpected anti-aging drugs: Can this common molecule kill aging cells?

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Unexpected anti-aging drugs: Can this common molecule kill aging cells?

2018-12-04 20:25:20 223 ℃
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In a recent academic journal, Aging, British scientists published a study that attracted widespread attention: For the first time, they discovered that an antibiotic called azithromycin specifically cleared senescent cells. This can lead to unexpected anti-aging drugs.

Is aging cells? By definition, senescent cells refer to cells that have stopped dividing, and normal physiological functions and proliferative capacity have declined. Not only that, they also release some cytokines that promote inflammation and “negative energy” to the surrounding cells. Currently, cellular aging is thought to be the root cause of many aging-related diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and dementia. Recent studies have shown that clearing the aging cells in the brain that have lost their ability to divide can improve the symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases and alleviate the cognitive decline associated with aging.

There is a problem: Can the sputum method easily and effectively remove senescent cells? The research team at the University of Salford's Translational Medicine Laboratory unexpectedly found that at least one antibiotic could do it.

▲Professor Michael P. Lisanti, one of the principals of the study (Source: Solford German University)

In this study, scientists "stealed a lazy." They collected a batch of approved drugs and added them to the culture environment of human fibroblasts in vitro. This is one of the most important cells in human skin, and its aging is closely related to skin aging.

Why do scientists say "stealing a lazy"? Because these drugs have been approved, they are safe and reliable. If they are lucky and find drugs that kill aging cells, they hope to promote relevant clinical research as soon as possible.

Are their luck so good? Really...

▲Azithromycin is harmless to healthy cells (left), but kills senescent cells (right) (Source: Reference [1])

They found that low doses of azithromycin, a very common antibiotic, inhibit the mitochondrial metabolic oxygen consumption rate of senescent cells, causing aerobic glucose in aging cells. Detoxification and autophagy, thus eliminating aging cells, the effectiveness is as high as 97%! At the same time, normal healthy cells still thrive.

Unexpectedly, the research team also found that another antibiotic, roxithromycin, which is also a macrolide antibiotic, will also exhaust aging cells in a similar way. It's just as selective as azithromycin.

▲Roxithromycin has similar effects as azithromycin (Source: Reference [1])

"At first we thought that antibiotics killed harmful bacteria, but our experiments revealed that the actual situation may be another matter." Michael P., one of the leaders of the study. Professor Lisanti said. Combining some of the past test results, the researchers pointed out that antibiotics can eliminate inflamed fibroblasts. Coincidentally, aging fibroblasts are also inflamed.

"This result is unexpected, and we can't help thinking that antibiotics may be used to treat or prevent various diseases associated with aging," added Professor Michael P. Lisanti. The team believes that these antibiotics focus on aging cells, altering their metabolic characteristics and forcing cell death. Therefore, such antibiotics can be called "lysin" - dissolve or destroy aging cells.

Of course, this experiment is still in the in vitro experimental phase. There is still a long way to go if it can be used clinically. But as Professor Federica Sotgia, another head of the study, said, “This result is still important for how to alleviate or reverse tissue dysfunction and slow the progression of multiple aging-related diseases.”

The title of this article is from Pixabay


[1] Bela Ozsvari et al., (2018), Azithromycin and Roxithromycin define a new family of “senolytic” Drugs that target senescent human fibroblasts, Aging, DOI: https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.101633

[2] Antibiotics eliminate senescent cells associated with ageing, Retrieved December 3, 2018, from https ://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-11-antibiotics-senescent-cells-ageing.html

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