Blood pressure lowering Hydralazin can apparently extend life significantly

Blood pressure lowering Hydralazin can apparently extend life significantly

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Old blood pressure medication increases life expectancy in model organisms

The pursuit of eternal youth is widespread and many people try to give themselves a younger look with cosmetic aids. Medical research has also been looking for ways to slow cell aging for years. Scientists have now discovered that the blood pressure drug hydralazine extends the life of a model organism by 25 percent. If the same effect could be achieved in humans, we could get around twenty years older by taking the drug.

Hydralazine is approved for the treatment of high blood pressure, but due to the risk of side effects, it is hardly used as an antihypertensive. It was more by chance that scientists discovered that the drug also extends the lifespan of two roundworm species of the C. Elegans strain. These worms are widely used in age research. Their life span increased by 25 percent when using hydralazine, the researchers report. They attribute this to the worms' improved resistance to stress. The scientists have published their results in the journal "Nature Communications".

Hypertension drug tested on model organisms

The researchers at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas said they were originally looking for biomarkers for oxidized and toxic proteins in the brain. In their search for a substance that can cross the blood-brain barrier and is non-toxic to humans, they came across hydralazine. In further investigations, the hypertension drug led to a significant increase in the lifespan of two strains of the model organism C. Elegans, according to the UT Southwestern Medical Center. This is presumably due to the activation of genes that protect the cells from oxidative stress.

Protection against oxidative stress

Oxidative stress is one of the hallmarks of aging and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, explains Dr. Hamid Mirzaei. The NRF2 pathway protects human cells from this oxidative stress and SKN-1, a transcription factor of C. elegans, corresponds to NRF2 in humans, the study leader continued. These transcription factors influence a variety of antioxidant defense mechanisms in the cells, which suggests that the body's declining ability to break down the harmful oxygen radicals can be compensated for by controlling the NRF2 metabolic pathway.

Protective effect in the brain

The hypertension drug increased the activation of NRF2 or SKN-1 in the trials and extended the lifespan of C. elegans by 25 percent (from 15 to 18 days to about 20 to 23 days). To test the effectiveness of hydralazine in connection with neurodegenerative diseases, the scientists also administered a high dose of the chemical stressor Rotenon, which is associated with an increased risk of Parkinson's disease in humans when exposed to high doses, to the worms. Thanks to hydralazine, the worms were largely resistant to the poison, explains Dr. Mirzaei. Hydralazin also showed a significant decrease in tau toxicity in the C. elegans model of Alzheimer's disease.

Prospect of new treatment approaches

"Age-related neurodegenerative diseases are devastating, and their spread is increasing due to the increase in people's lifespans," emphasizes Dr. It is therefore important to develop new treatment approaches that maintain health for as long as possible. "Based on the current results, we see Hydralazin as a good candidate for clinical studies for the treatment of age-related diseases in humans, since it can also offer general health benefits to the aging population," concluded the study leader. (fp)

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