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Today, we have a new study showing that a common, plant-based compound could help clear out unwanted senescent cells, which accumulate with age and produce inflammatory signals that drive age-related disease progression.

Taking out the trash

A new study has investigated a natural, plant-based compound for its ability to destroy senescent cells [1]. These cells accumulate with age due to the aging immune system becoming increasingly poor at removing them; this leads to a build-up of these cells and the secretions they produce, which cause chronic inflammation. These proinflammatory secretions are known as the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP).

This inflammation from senescent cells and other sources combines to form “inflammaging”, a chronic smoldering background of inflammation that causes cellular dysfunction, reduces tissue repair, and blocks stem cell activity, thus leading to eventual organ and tissue failure. In a way, senescent cells can be thought of as being like garbage left lying in the street, and their presence harms the local environment, which, in this case, is the adjacent bodily tissues.

Researchers believe that helping the body remove these senescent cells using drugs known as senolytics could be a pathway to preventing age-related diseases and keeping us healthy as we grow older.

The researchers here investigated Solidago virgaurea, also known as goldenrod, which is traditionally used as an anti-inflammatory herbal medicine. This is the first time that extracts from this plant have been studied in relation to cellular senescence.

Abstract

There is increasing evidence that senescent cells are a driving force behind many age-related pathologies and that their selective elimination increases the life- and healthspan of mice. Senescent cells negatively affect their surrounding tissue by losing their cell specific functionality and by secreting a pro-tumorigenic and pro-inflammatory mixture of growth hormones, chemokines, cytokines and proteases, termed the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). Here we identified an extract from the plant Solidago virgaurea subsp. alpestris, which exhibited weak senolytic activity, delayed the acquisition of a senescent phenotype and induced a papillary phenotype with improved functionality in human dermal fibroblasts. When administered to stress-induced premature senescent fibroblasts, this extract changed their global mRNA expression profile and particularly reduced the expression of various SASP components, thereby ameliorating the negative influence on nearby cells. Thus, the investigated plant extract represents a promising possibility to block age-related loss of tissue functionality.

Conclusion

The results show that the extract was effective at slowing down the cells’ journey to senescence and could suppress a number of proinflammatory pathways. This may seem impressive at first glance; however, the effect is rather small, and this is a cell culture study. What happens in culture is not always what happens in the body; therefore, these marginal improvements should be taken with a large pinch of salt. In other words, don’t rush out and buy goldenrod supplements based on this initial data.

Literature

[1] Lämmermann, I., Terlecki-Zaniewicz, L., Weinmüllner, R., Schosserer, M., Dellago, H., de Matos Branco, A. D., … & Morizot, F. (2018). Blocking negative effects of senescence in human skin fibroblasts with a plant extract. npj Aging and Mechanisms of Disease, 4(1), 4.

CategoryNews, Research
About the author

Steve Hill

Steve serves on the LEAF Board of Directors and is the Editor in Chief, coordinating the daily news articles and social media content of the organization. He is an active journalist in the aging research and biotechnology field and has to date written over 500 articles on the topic as well as attending various medical industry conferences. In 2019 he was listed in the top 100 journalists covering biomedicine and longevity research in the industry report – Top-100 Journalists covering advanced biomedicine and longevity created by the Aging Analytics Agency. His work has been featured in H+ magazine, Psychology Today, Singularity Weblog, Standpoint Magazine, and, Keep me Prime, and New Economy Magazine. Steve has a background in project management and administration which has helped him to build a united team for effective fundraising and content creation, while his additional knowledge of biology and statistical data analysis allows him to carefully assess and coordinate the scientific groups involved in the project. In 2015 he led the Major Mouse Testing Program (MMTP) for the International Longevity Alliance and in 2016 helped the team of the SENS Research Foundation to reach their goal for the OncoSENS campaign for cancer research.
  1. May 22, 2018

    This sound amazing and very promising if we can kill off those cells that would be very cool
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjdpR-TY6QU
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoJsr4IwCm4
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAhjPd4uNFY
    and
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YI3tsmFsrOg
    were all very good at explaining and are what got me interested in this.
    Tanke you to all the lifespan io team

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