Resveratrol prevents cataracts, bone loss, decreased coordination and other pathologies in aging mice

July 22, 2008

     Research conducted by Harvard Medical School Associate Professor of Pathology David Sinclair, PhD and colleagues confirms that the compound Resveratrol given to mice at middle-age reduces some of the degenerative conditions of aging and improves health in a manner similar to that of caloric restriction. Dietary restriction is a well-studied research technique which has shown consistent benefits in health and longevity in a variety of experimental models using animals as advanced as chimps. "In this study, we wanted to determine whether or not Resveratrol, which imparts many of the same health benefits as caloric restriction in mice, does so by inducing a physiology similar to dietary restriction," Dr Sinclair commented. "The data show that Resveratrol does induce many similar pathways." In other words significantly restricting calorie intake throughout life dramatically slows aging, extends healthy lifespan, and decreases disease. Resveratrol achieves similar results.

     For the current study, one-year old mice received a standard diet, a high calorie diet, or every other day feeding. Each group was divided to receive varying doses of Resveratrol or no Resveratrol for the remainder of their lives. In animals that received Resveratrol, tissue gene expression patterns were found to be similar to those induced by calorie restriction. Osteoporosis, cataracts and diminished motor coordination were reduced in mice given Resveratrol compared with those that did not receive the compound. Markers of cardiovascular health were more favorable in Resveratrol-treated mice, and the arteries of the animals were more youthful. Interestingly, mice given Resveratrol in both the high calorie and calorie restricted diet groups lived longer than animals that did not receive the compound, yet Resveratrol was not associated with an extension of life span in animals provided with the standard diet. "This study informs us how frailty in mice can be delayed," stated Christoph Westphal, MD, PhD, of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, who collaborated on the research. "This knowledge could help us translate preclinical benefits to humans." The study is published online ahead of print in the July 3rd, 2008 issue of the journal Cell Metabolism.