Sperm fluid fights Alzheimer's and Aging - Prolonging Life

By chillinwill · Oct 7, 2009 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    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
    News 24

    Share This Article


  1. chillinwill
    Re: Sperm fluid fights Alzheimer's and Aging

    Key to a long life found

    he Daily Express claims that a “wonder pill can lengthen your life by 25 years” and that researchers have found the key to the “elixir of life”.
    Although the article contains bold claims and a picture of a woman taking a pill, no such pill exists. The research behind this story investigated how a naturally occurring compound called spermidine affected the age-related processes and longevity of yeast, flies, worms, human blood cells and mice.

    The laboratory-based study found that spermidine protected cells from certain processes related to ageing and cell damage, increasing the lifespan of the flies, blood cells, yeast and worms. Additional studies in live mice found that cells were protected from particular types of cell damage, but their lifespans were not reported. While the research itself is important, any spermidine pill, as described by the Daily Express, is many years away.

    This is at least the second time that the newspaper has reported on a supposed discovery of an elixir of life in recent months.

    Where did the story come from?

    The study was carried out by Dr Tobias Eisenberg and colleagues from the University of Graz in Austria, alongside medical and academic institutions across Europe. It was funded by the Austrian Science Fund and the European Commission, and published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Nature Cell Biology.

    What kind of scientific study was this?

    This research investigated the action of a naturally occurring chemical called spermidine in the process of autophagy (the body’s controlled digestion of cells or of damaged parts of cells).

    Autophagy is instrumental in recycling old cells to maintain a balance with growth and regeneration. Failures in autophagy are thought to lead to ageing. Cellular concentration of spermidine has been shown to decline with ageing.

    The researchers investigated how spermidine affected longevity and various age-related processes in yeast, flies, worms, human cells and mice. To do this, they did the following:

    * Applied spermidine to ageing yeast cells.
    * Supplemented the diet of the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) and the nematode worm (Caenorhabditis elegans) with spermidine.
    * Supplemented the drinking water of mice with spermidine for 200 days.
    * Compared the lifespan of human blood cells that were cultured with spermidine and those that were not (the control group).

    The researchers also investigated the reverse: the effect that polyamine depletion would have on cells. Biochemical analyses were used to assess the specific effects of spermidine on age-related processes.

    What were the results of the study?

    Spermidine had a range of effects on the cells and living creatures. It suppressed processes associated with ageing, reduced free radical levels and increased lifespan. The levels of spermidine in the cells increased too (reducing levels are usually associated with increasing age although causality has not been established). In the tests on blood cells, spermidine treatment resulted in 50% of cells surviving to 12 days, compared to only 15% of the control blood cells.

    Treated yeasts survived four times as long as untreated cells, while treated fruit flies lived 30% longer than the untreated ones. The lifespan of the worms was extended by 15%. The effect on the lifespan of live mice was not investigated.

    Further investigation revealed that the programmed death of cells (apoptosis) was not reduced, but spermidine appeared to protect against the type of cell death that results from more traumatic cell injury (necrosis).

    When cells were deprived of spermidine, yeast lifespan was reduced and free radicals accumulated. One theory of ageing (the free radical theory) suggests that it is these entities that accumulate in the body and cause oxidative stress, which leads to ageing.

    What interpretations did the researchers draw from these results?

    The researchers conclude that they have discovered that levels of spermidine both inside and outside the cell induce autophagy, the failure of which has been implicated in ageing.

    What does the NHS Knowledge Service make of this study?

    This laboratory-based study has highlighted the important role of the naturally occurring compound spermidine in age-related processes and lifespan. The results of this research, both in cell cultures and mice, may be of great interest to those studying the chemical and biological processes of ageing, and may suggest a possible area for future research.

    The Daily Express has suggested that we are a step closer to a “wonder pill that could extend lifespan by up to 25 years”. Even if that were true, this would be only one step forward on a very long journey: this is early research into how a chemical affects mice and cells in a lab, and it may never result in such a simple ‘treatment’ for ageing. According to the Daily Express this is at least the second elixir of life that has been discovered in just a few months (see this previous article on long-life pills).

    Even if spermidine has the potential to possible affect ageing, it will take many more years of research including laboratory testing, further cell studies, further animal studies, short-term clinical trials and long-term clinical trials, to establish the safety, benefits, drawbacks and costs of such a treatment.

    The Daily Express article mentions other recently reported research that predicts that the majority of the UK’s newborn babies will live to beyond 100. However, this is based on the increase in life expectancy in past years and not specifically on the advent of new treatments.

    October 5, 2009
  2. chillinwill
    Scientists have shown that feeding a simple polyamine called spermidine to worms, fruit flies and yeast significantly prolongs their lifespan. In addition, adding spermidine to the diet of mice decreased molecular markers of ageing, and when human immune cells were cultured in a medium containing spermidine, they also lived for longer.
    Spermidine - a simple linear molecule found in large quantities in human sperm and grapefruit - is known to be necessary for cell growth and maturation, and as cells age their level of spermidine is know to fall. Now, Frank Madeo from the University of Graz in Austria and his colleagues have shown that simply feeding certain organisms and cells with the molecule significantly increases their lifespan.

    When yeast were cultured in a medium rich in spermidine the cells lived for three to four times longer than without the spermidine; human immune cells lasted around three times longer; fruit flies and microscopic nematode worms lived for around 30 per cent longer when fed a diet rich in the polyamine; and mice fed on spermidine showed a strong reduction in the amount of protein damage associated with ageing.

    It seems that spermidine exerts its influence at the level of the cell's mechanism for dealing with damaged internal components. Throughout a cell's life, proteins and other molecules become damaged by exposure to environmental factors such as UV light or oxidants. This debris is swept up and deposited into a biochemical recycling bin. However, as cells age this clean-up process, called autophagy, becomes less efficient and ultimately the accumulation of this waste causes the cell to trigger its own suicide.

    Autophagy is ultimately controlled by genes being switched on and off. It appears that spermidine inhibits a protein in the cell's nucleus that is involved with controlling the genes for autophagy.

    Richard Faragher, an expert on cellular ageing at the University of Brighton in the UK, says that the new work 'is interesting because it adds to the growing body of data suggesting that ageing is caused by a general failure of recycling. It also suggests that small molecule interventions will work in the future. In short it tells us that ageing needs chemistry.'

    So has Madeo's team discovered the elusive elixir for eternal youth? 'I think I would be cautious about that,' Madeo laughs. 'Clearly we have to do a lot more research to discover if it can have a direct effect on ageing in humans. But what is interesting is that spermidine is a natural compound which probably has no side effects. Humans are exposed to spermidine in quite high concentrations during sexual intercourse. Also grapefruit contains high concentrations, so natural sources are available. People could try to stay young by eating a lot of grapefruit and having a lot of sex - it might not work but I don't think it would do much harm.'

    T Eisenberg et al, Nature Cell Biol., 2009, DOI; 10.1038/ncb1975

    Simon Hadlington
    October 5, 2009
  3. chinpokomaster
    How is this sperm to be administered, to say, reduce the signs of aging on one's face?
  4. sandoz1943
    This sounds like sciences version of the old one about how it's good for your hair and full of protein. Come on guys if you want us to swallow or take a face shot just ask.
  5. chinpokomaster
    Ask?! Where's the fun in that? :p
  6. Alias: V
    I used to suck dick for coke. Now I suck it for the health benefits.
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!