Anti-aging study reveals role of mitochondria pointing towards new medicine

pharmafile | February 21, 2017 | News story | Manufacturing and Production, Research and Development Anti-aging, SkQ1, anti aging, mitochondria 

A joint study between researchers from Russia and Sweden has revealed the extent to which mitochondria play a role in the aging process. The study was conducted on mice that had been genetically-modified to accelerate mitochondrial mutagenesis, which was found to rapidly speed up the aging process.

Mice usually live two years but the mice that had a mutation introduced into the genome were found to live no more than one year, whilst exhibiting age-related illnesses. The mice were then separated into two groups – one control that was treated with pure water and one group treated with a synthetic compound called SkQ1.

SkQ1 is an artificial antioxidant that targets mitochondria and was delivered in doses of 12 micrograms through the mice’s drinking water. The assumption was that the mice would be protected from the by-products of mitochondria, free radicals.

The results were profound as mice within the control began to exhibit signs of aging by the 200th day, with weight loss, lowered body temperature, curvature of the spine and alopecia began to develop. Within the SkQ1 group, the signs of aging were significantly decelerated and some mice did not show any signs of aging.

Professor Vladimir Skulachev, the creator of SkQ1 molecule design and co-author of this study, said, “This work is quite valuable from both theoretical and practical points of view. First, it clearly demonstrates the key role of mitochondrially produced reactive oxygen species in the process of ageing of mammals. At the same time our study opens the way to the treatment of ageing with mitochondrially targeted antioxidants.”

The SkQ1 molecule is currently already available in the form of eye drops in Russia, known as Visomitin, to reverse the signs of dry-eyes associated with aging; the eye drops have already passed through Phase 2 testing in the US. As well as this, the oral solution of SkQ1 is also going through a clinical trial process to determine whether the product can be used in humans.

Ben Hargreaves

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