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Biogerontology. 2018 Apr;19(2):145-157. doi: 10.1007/s10522-018-9745-9. Epub 2018 Jan 16.

Repurposed FDA-approved drugs targeting genes influencing aging can extend lifespan and healthspan in rotifers.

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School of Biological Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, 30332-0230, USA.
School of Biological Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, 30332-0230, USA.


Pharmaceutical interventions can slow aging in animals, and have advantages because their dose can be tightly regulated and the timing of the intervention can be closely controlled. They also may complement environmental interventions like caloric restriction by acting additively. A fertile source for therapies slowing aging is FDA approved drugs whose safety has been investigated. Because drugs bind to several protein targets, they cause multiple effects, many of which have not been characterized. It is possible that some of the side effects of drugs prescribed for one therapy may have benefits in retarding aging. We used computationally guided drug screening for prioritizing drug targets to produce a short list of candidate compounds for in vivo testing. We applied the virtual ligand screening approach FINDSITEcomb for screening potential anti-aging protein targets against FDA approved drugs listed in DrugBank. A short list of 31 promising compounds was screened using a multi-tiered approach with rotifers as an animal model of aging. Primary and secondary survival screens and cohort life table experiments identified four drugs capable of extending rotifer lifespan by 8-42%. Exposures to 1 µM erythromycin, 5 µM carglumic acid, 3 µM capecitabine, and 1 µM ivermectin, extended rotifer lifespan without significant effect on reproduction. Some drugs also extended healthspan, as estimated by mitochondria activity and mobility (swimming speed). Our most promising result is that rotifer lifespan was extended by 7-8.9% even when treatment was started in middle age.


Aging; Aging genes; Healthspan; Lifespan; Re-purposing drugs; Rotifera

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