Researchers at the Boyce Thompson Institute of Plant Research and Cornell are conducting various studies to see if roundworm de-stressing mechanisms can be applied to humans so that people can live longer.
According to the studies, researchers found that roundworms can live up to 20 percent longer when they soak themselves in their own secretions. De-stressing chemicals, called ascarosides, trigger anti-aging mechanisms which ultimately help the slippery worms live longer. Furthermore, it seems like the ascarosides anti-aging goo is linked to sirtuin, a protein that is understood to have something to do with aging properties in human beings.
(A computer generated model of the sirtuin protein. Image: pingrysmartteam)
Prior studies have suggested that a chemical called resveratrol in red grapes can induce the activation of sirtuins in humans, therefore, possibly helping to increase one’s lifespan. However, the slippery goo that roundworm secretes—which contains ascarosides—is believed to be 1000 times more effective in activating sirtuins.
“It seems that ascarosides trigger stress-resistance mechanisms that ultimately slow aging, a process that could lead to a better understanding of human aging and how it may be delayed,” said Frank Schroeder, senior author of the study and an assistant professor at BTI.
The beauty in using worms to study human aging is that these squirmy creatures have short lifespans. Thus, researchers can generate comprehensive aging models that require less turnaround times, as compared to having to deal with humans who generally live for many decades. For some more in-depth coverage of this research, please click here.