Saturday, April 2, 2011

Dyeing to Prevent Dying

by Medpage Today staff

A finding that a common laboratory staining agent increased longevity in nematode worms may have implications for human lifespan as well, researchers suggested.

Thioflavin T is a widely used, yellow histological dye, used for such tasks as staining amyloid plaques and stabilizing protein fibrils in cultures.

But researchers led by Gordon Lithgow, PhD, of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, Calif., thought the stabilizing effect might have a wider application. They exposed adult nematodes –- the standard lab species Caenorhabditis elegans -- to the substance and found that it extended their lives by about 60%.
It also suppressed some of the pathological features of aging in the worms, the group reported online in Nature.

The hypothesis is that the stabilizing effect of the substance helps to preserve normal protein homeostasis and prevent aggregation of proteins, including the accumulation of amyloid-beta that's characteristic of Alzheimer's.

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