A healthspan improvement

Two 2022 publishments, starting with an excerpt from an informative interview with the Director of one of the three Interventions Testing Program centers:

“A paper submitted this week is one in which we tried a combination of rapamycin plus acarbose. Rapamycin works very well in male and female mice, while acarbose works significantly in both sexes but has a much stronger effect in males.

What we found in males is that when you give rapamycin and acarbose together, you do better than either rapamycin by itself or acarbose by itself. That combination of drugs together gives male survival a 29% boost.

That’s the largest percentage increase we’ve seen in males or females. This combination is the best thing we’ve ever had for either sex.

When you give acarbose and rapamycin together to females, they don’t do any better or any worse than on rapamycin alone. This is not too surprising because acarbose gives only a small effect in females. We expected it wouldn’t have a big boost over rapamycin alone in female animals, and that’s what we found.”


The study mentioned above:

“C57BL/6 mice were fed a cocktail diet containing one-half the dose of each drug compared to full dose cocktail diet and control diet. Half-dose drug cocktail was just as effective as full dose in preventing age-related cognitive impairment, but was less effective in other physical performance tests. Half-dose cocktail also had no effect on reducing pathological lesions.

Rapamycin was the major contributor for the cocktail’s effect on suppressing cognitive impairment. Decreased neuronal activation and impaired cognitive performance during aging occurs in both humans and rodents. Chronic mTOR attenuation by rapamycin has shown benefits of restoring deficits in neurovascular coupling response and cerebrovascular dysfunction in aging rodent models.

C57BL/6 female mice fed chow with acarbose performed equally well in grip strength as females fed chow with cocktail. That this sex-dependent result in strength performance was not seen in cocktail treated mice suggests that rapamycin and phenylbutyrate contributed in some way.

grip strength

HET3 4-way cross is a useful strain to help validate effects of the cocktail on aging parameters in C57BL/6 mice. HET3 mice were tested in the same manner, age, and timing as C57BL/6 mice, but only with the drug cocktail compared to control chow.

grip strength het3 mice

Grip strength force was normalized by body weight measured on the testing date so that peak force was expressed relative to body weight.

The drug cocktail was very effective in delaying progression of age-related pathology in all organs examined. We view this as a vital component of the study since mice were treated for only three months.

Administration of a cocktail has a major advantage over any individual drug tested in this study. A combination of three drugs previously shown to enhance lifespan and health span in mice is able to delay aging phenotypes more effectively and more robustly than any individual drug in the cocktail when started at middle age and given for a short period of time.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-11229-1 “Short term treatment with a cocktail of rapamycin, acarbose and phenylbutyrate delays aging phenotypes in mice”

It makes evolutionary sense for male mice to benefit more from anti-aging treatments than females.  Per How well do single-mother rodent studies inform us about human fathers?

“The Rattus and Mus genera used in almost all rodent research aren’t part of the 6% in which fathers also provide offspring care.”

There probably isn’t an evolutionary advantage for male mice to live much longer after sperm donation. Female mice don’t cache sperm.

It’s similar to studies in which treatments only benefited subjects who started out deficient. This interview hinted at how females’ healthspans and lifespans were already evolutionarily protected, with only male mice benefiting from 17α-estradiol treatment.

Female protection may have limits in humans. For example, most whale species don’t experience menopause. In those that do, like Orca, menopause is thought to be evolutionarily determined in order to keep females’ children from competing for resources with females’ grandchildren and great-grandchildren. That’s a hypothesis, though, as those species’ male lifespans aren’t adequately measured.

Rodent research and development on interventions and doses continues. 37 months is a human equivalent to this study’s 3-month treatment. What will effective anti-aging treatments be for humans?

More strange birds


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