A recent study has suggested that the drug, ‘Statin” used widely for lowering cholesterol could well be used for slowing down aging process in the coming future.
This drug is prescribed to reduce risk of stroke and heart attack in high risk category patients. It functions by blocking the action of a particular enzyme in the liver which is responsible for producing cholesterol.
Statins have an effect on ‘telomere’ which is the area of repetitive DNA at the very end of a chromosome. These telomeres protect a chromosome from deterioration. When a person ages, telomeres begin to shorten thereby limiting the division of cells. This is what causes reduction in an individual’s life-span.
A recent work by Spanish researchers has led to the discovery that statins can actually reduce the rate of shortening of telomeres. If this is proven, it could mark the beginning of statins being used in anti-aging therapy in the future. During the study, researchers experimented on 203 participants who were split into two groups. While one group was administered chronic statin therapy, the other abstained from it. Analysis of findings revealed that participants under statin therapy demonstrated high levels of telomerase activity in their WBCs which was linked to lower levels of telomere shortening. The same was not observed in the other group.
Giuseppe Paolisso from Department of Internal Medicine, Surgical, Neurological metabolic Disease and Geriatric Medicine at Second University of Naples, Italy said that owing to telomerase activation, statins may begin to function as a new molecular switch having the ability to slow down senescent cells in our body tissues which in turn will help us lead a healthy extension in our lifespan. Gerald Weissmann form FASEB journal stated that if the efficacy of statin is proven in slowing the process of aging itself and not just its symptoms; despite the side effects it presents, statin could prove to be a powerful drug much more than we can imagine.
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