Statins, long prescribed drugs for high cholesterol, may slow human ageing by protecting against telomere shortening. Telomeres are stretches of DNA at the ends of the chromosomes and various age-related diseases have been linked to shortened telomeres.
Giuseppe Paolisso, a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Internal Medicine, Surgical, Neurological Metabolic Disease and Geriatric Medicine at Second University of Naples in Naples, Italy, said that statins may represent a new molecular switch able to slow down senescent (ageing) cells in our tissues and be able to lead healthy lifespan extension.
Researchers examined two volunteer groups to test statins’ effects on telomeres – first group was under statin therapy while the second group did not use the drugs. The former had higher telomerase activity in their white blood cells, which was associated with less shortening of the telomeres. Higher telomerase activation prevents the excessive accumulation of short telomeres.
According to researchers, the finding has paved the way for using statins as an anti-aging therapy. The study appeared in issue of The FASEB Journal.
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