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Grape Seed Chemical Extends Life in Mice
According to a new study in Nature Metabolism, a grape seed chemical has been shown to extend older mice’s lives, make young mice healthier, and help chemo drugs shrink tumours.
Injury, disease, and other stressors can harm our cells, not allowing them to divide and multiply. In comparison, those injured cells may still cause inflammation and can cause harm to the cells found around them.
To prevent this, the immune system kills and clears damaged cells through a procedure named “apoptosis.” However, there are specific cells that resist apoptosis. They are called “senescent cells,” which accumulate the older they get.
Senescent cells are associated with many age-related diseases, such as dementia, stroke, cancer, and many more, so longevity scientists are now searching for “senolytics“ — medications that can rid the body of senescent cells and not cause any damage to healthy cells.
Grape Seed Drugs
The idea is that these drugs will extend our lives to live longer, healthier lives, and many promising contenders have now made it to human trials.
Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences believe they have identified a cheap, widely available new senolytic type found in grape seed.
For the study, the scientists looked at an assortment of 46 plant-derived compounds previously linked to aging, to look at it in a petri dish to see if they affected senescent cells.
They revealed that low doses of a compound in grape seeds — procyanidin C1 (PCC1) — had stopped senescent cells from emitting inflammation-triggering compounds. PCC1 killed the senescent cells in higher amounts without harming any healthy cells.
Through their study, the researchers also found the effects on mice. They discovered that it expanded their lifespans, enhanced their health, and lowered the number of senescent cells in the animal’s tissues.
One test used 91 old mice given grape seed twice a week until their life was over. The lifespans of these mice were greater than 60% longer than the mice in the control group, where their lifespan total was an average of 9% longer.
A comparable test was given to younger mice, and those who were given PCC1 for four straight months were healthier than those given a placebo — they were stronger, faster, and with more endurance.
Grape Seed Oil Extract and Chemotherapy
Finally, mice that had human prostate cancer tumours given grape seed and a chemotherapy drug saw their tumours shrink down on average by 75% and the tumours of mice shown the chemo only shrank by 44%.
The number of senescent cells found around the tumours had also declined.
Although something works in mice does not mean it will work in humans. However, grape seeds are relatively cheap. If PPC1 transfers to people, a senolytic drug based on the grape compound would be easy to scale up.
If grape seed PPC1 cannot translate to humans, the study proposes that longevity scientists pursuing senescent cells could already be going in the right direction. A comparable compound might work in humans if there is a PCC1 that works for mice.