Scientists from Harvard Medical School claimed that they have finally found the ‘elixir of youth’ which can not only slow down the aging process, but also reverse it.
This rejuvenating substance created by American scientists currently works only on mice.
“We worked on understanding the mechanisms of aging and conducted experiments on mice. For this purpose we selected mature enough animals that were older than two years, and began to introduce the experimental drug. To our surprise, just in a week the mice got younger. They became vigorous and energetic as if they were six-month old,” said Prof David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School.
The muscles of the rejuvenated mice were in tone, and their cardiac muscles were as new. It’s as if a 60-year-old man turned into a 17-year-old. The coenzyme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) has played a major role in this incredible transformation.
In a living organism, NAD serves as a conduit between the nucleus and mitochondria. The latter generates energy, and NAD delivers it to the cell nucleus. At low concentration of NAD, communication between mitochondria and the nucleus of cells weakens.
“This substance is present in our body. However, with age, its concentration becomes lower and lower. We hypothesized that this might be the cause of aging, and introduced a drug to increase the level of this substance in mice,” said Prof Sinclair.
Moreover, young mice, which also were given a dose of NAD, became more alert and energetic.
At the moment, the scientists have the following tasks to be accomplished: to determine how long the rejuvenating effect will hold, to identify side effects of the drug, as well as to find out whether it may be used in humans.
The study’s authors hope to test the drug on humans this year. However, it is worth noting that the cost of a single drop of NAD – which is a daily dose for a mouse – is about $ 1,000. Therefore, in case of successful outcome of further testing, it is necessary to find a way to reduce its cost to launch the mass production of the drug.