British researchers at the University of Exeter have identified promising therapies for extending healthy lifespans. They utilize drugs that release small quantities of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas, which has shown anti-aging effects when precisely targeted within cells.
H2S targeting AP39 in mitochondria improves vitality of aging worms
In experiments with adult worms, researchers discovered that administering small amounts of H2S, targeted at cell mitochondria through a molecule called AP39, effectively improved the overall health and vitality of aging worms. Mitochondria, known as the cell’s “powerhouse” due to their energy production role, were the specific focus of this study.
Mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with various age-related conditions, including natural aging, muscular dystrophy, neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and common mitochondrial diseases.
Researchers have identified a group of proteins that control gene expression in the aging process, known as transcription factors. H2S can target these proteins, offering potential prospects for treatments targeting muscle-related ailments and aging.
University of Exeter professor and senior study author Tim Etheridge, said that worms serve as a valuable genetic tool for researching human health and disease, offering a fast way to discover potential new treatments. Etheridge explained that the study suggests that administering small amounts of H2S to specific cell locations could potentially contribute to prolonged, healthier lives in the future.
H2S could potentially target age-related ailments
In a recent study, researchers extended their investigation of H2S targeting in skeletal muscle from worms to natural aging. MitoRx Therapeutics, a spin-off of the University of Exeter, now holds the rights to this groundbreaking technology and is actively working on developing novel compounds for potential treatments of age-related diseases, such as Huntington’s disease and muscular dystrophy in children.
The study aims to promote healthier living in old age, rather than extending life. Matt Whiteman, co-author of the study and a professor at the University of Exeter, believes this could benefit society greatly. Whiteman said that the research is moving forward, and there is hope it may lead to new treatments in collaboration with MitoRx in the future.