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Biogerontology. 2012 Apr;13(2):105-17. doi: 10.1007/s10522-011-9357-0. Epub 2011 Sep 18.

Extension of Drosophila lifespan by Rosa damascena associated with an increased sensitivity to heat.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of California, Irvine, 92697, USA.


Rosa damascena, or Damask rose, is a rose hybrid commonly harvested for rose oil used in perfumery and for rose water used to flavor food. The petal extract of R. damascena was recently found to decrease Drosophila melanogaster mortality without impairing reproductive fitness or metabolic rate. Here, we report that R. damascena extended both mean and maximum lifespan of the fly. The extract also protected against oxidative stress in flies, predominantly in females. However, it did not alter mitochondrial respiration or content, superoxide production, or the major antioxidant defenses, superoxide dismutase and catalase. The extract increased survival in both sexes when exposed to reduced iron, though surprisingly, it sensitized both sexes to heat stress (survival at 37°C), and appeared to down-regulate the major heat shock protein HSP70 and the small mitochondrial heat shock protein HSP22, at 25°C and after heat shock (4 h at 37°C). We hypothesize that R. damascena extends lifespan by protecting against iron, which concomitantly leads to decreased HSP expression and compromising heat tolerance.

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