A substance contained in sperm fluid prolongs life and might be used in fighting Alzheimer's disease, Austria's Graz University announced on Monday.
Researchers Tobias Eisenberg and Frank Madeo have found that the substance spermidine extends the lifespan of human immune cells, as well as of mice, flies, worms and yeast fungus.
"We might have found the holy grail of age research," said Eisenberg, whose study involved 29 colleagues in six countries and was published in the British journal Nature Cell Biology on Sunday.
In tests with mice treated with spermidine, cell damage linked to aging was reduced, and the scientists found that the substance increased the ability of cells to get rid of damaged proteins.
The findings could become relevant for diseases linked to old age such as Alzheimer and Parkinson, the university said.
Spermidine is contained in high concentrations in male sperm, but it is also found in grapefruits, wheat germs and soy beans.
October 5, 2009