Posted on May 01, 2019, 4 p.m.
Statins lower cholesterol levels and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease which in turn extends lives, research published in The FASEB Journal suggests statins may also extend lives by reducing the rate at which telomeres shorten which is a key element in natural aging processes. Findings may open lead to the use of statins, or derivatives of as an anti-aging therapy.
"By telomerase activation, statins may represent a new molecular switch able to slow down senescent cells in our tissues and be able to lead healthy lifespan extension," says Giuseppe Paolisso, M.D., Ph.D.
This cross sectional study investigating potential impact of statin therapy on peripheral blood mononuclear cells telomerase activity, implications on LTL variability, and association with telomere shortening rates along with aging involved 230 participants between the ages of 30-86 who were placed in one of two groups: a control group; and the other group was under chronic statin therapy. Telomerase activity was measured in both groups, activity was measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction and telomerase activity by a PCR-ELISA protocol.
Those in the statin therapy group were found to have had higher telomerase activity in their white blood cells independent of multiple covariates including age, gender, smoking habits, lipid, systemic inflammation, glucose, and blood pressure levels; this was associated with lower telomere shortening along with aging as compared to the control group, and highlights the role of telomerase activation in preventing the excessive accumulation of short telomeres.
"The great thing about statins is that they reduce risks for cardiovascular disease significantly and are generally safe for most people. The bad thing is that statins do have side effects, like muscle injury. But if it is confirmed that statins might actually slow aging itself -- and not just the symptoms of aging -- then statins are much more powerful drugs than we ever thought." says Gerald Weissmann.
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