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Journal Club December 18th 13:00 EST

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The topic for the December Journal Club will be the recently published paper “Fisetin is a senotherapeutic that extends health and lifespan”. This commonly available supplement and a plant-based polyphenol appears to influence the aging process in mice by clearing senescent cells, one of the suggested reasons we age. There is certainly plenty of justification for moving this compound to human trials where reliable data can be recorded and to see if the effects observed in mice and human cell lines are seen in people.

Background

Senescence is a tumor suppressor mechanism activated in stressed cells to prevent replication of damaged DNA. Senescent cells have been demonstrated to play a causal role in driving aging and age-related diseases using genetic and pharmacologic approaches. We previously demonstrated that the combination of dasatinib and the flavonoid quercetin is a potent senolytic improving numerous age-related conditions including frailty, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. The goal of this study was to identify flavonoids with more potent senolytic activity.

Methods

A panel of flavonoid polyphenols was screened for senolytic activity using senescent murine and human fibroblasts, driven by oxidative and genotoxic stress, respectively. The top senotherapeutic flavonoid was tested in mice modeling a progeroid syndrome carrying a p16INK4a-luciferase reporter and aged wild-type mice to determine the effects of fisetin on senescence markers, age-related histopathology, disease markers, health span and lifespan. Human adipose tissue explants were used to determine if results translated.

Findings

Of the 10 flavonoids tested, fisetin was the most potent senolytic. Acute or intermittent treatment of progeroid and old mice with fisetin reduced senescence markers in multiple tissues, consistent with a hit-and-run senolytic mechanism. Fisetin reduced senescence in a subset of cells in murine and human adipose tissue, demonstrating cell-type specificity. Administration of fisetin to wild-type mice late in life restored tissue homeostasis, reduced age-related pathology, and extended median and maximum lifespan.

Interpretation

The natural product fisetin has senotherapeutic activity in mice and in human tissues. Late life intervention was sufficient to yield a potent health benefit. These characteristics suggest the feasibility to translation to human clinical studies.

You can find the open access paper here.

Literature

Yousefzadeh, M. J., Zhu, Y., McGowan, S. J., Angelini, L., Fuhrmann-Stroissnigg, H., Xu, M., … & McGuckian, C. (2018). Fisetin is a senotherapeutic that extends health and lifespan. EBioMedicine36, 18-28.



About the author
Oliver Medvedik

Oliver Medvedik

Oliver Medvedik, Co-founder of Genspace citizen science laboratory in Brooklyn NY, earned his Ph.D. at Harvard Medical School in the Biomedical and Biological Sciences program. As part of his doctoral work he has used single-celled budding yeast as a model system to map the genetic pathways that underlie the processes of aging in more complex organisms, such as humans. Prior to arriving in Boston for his doctoral studies, he has lived most of his life in New York City. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in biology from Hunter College, City University of New York. Since graduating from Harvard, he has worked as a biotechnology consultant, taught molecular biology to numerous undergraduates at Harvard University and mentored two of Harvard’s teams for the international genetically engineered machines competition (IGEM) held annually at M.I.T. Oliver is also the Director of The Maurice Kanbar Center for Biomedical Engineering at the Cooper Union, New York City. The Maurice Kanbar Center for Biomedical Engineering is open to all Cooper Union faculty and students working on bioengineering projects requiring equipment and space for tissue culture, genetic engineering, biomechanics, and related research. Faculty that is currently using the facility are pursuing groundbreaking biomedical research in such fields as biomedical devices, tissue engineering, obstructive sleep apnea biomechanics also collaborating with several major New York City-based hospitals. The Kanbar Center continues to provide space for undergraduate teams participating in the international genetically engineered competition (iGEM) during the summer, as well as space for courses that offer a biological laboratory component.
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