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NORCH Bulletin February 2019


Harrison DE, Strong R, Alavez S, Astle CM, DiGiovanni J, Fernandez E, Flurkey K, Garratt M, Gelfond JAL, Javors MA, Levi M, Lithgow GJ, Macchiarini F, Nelson JF, Sukoff Rizzo SJ, Slaga TJ, Stearns T, Wilkinson JE, Miller RA.  Acarbose improves health and lifespan in aging HET3 mice.  Aging Cell. 2019 Jan 27:e12898.

This edition’s featured paper highlights the work of Richard Miller, MD, PhD, one of the speakers at our upcoming Annual Symposium, Longevity and Aging: Nutritional and Metabolic Mechanisms.    Acarbose inhibits alpha-glucosidase, reducing the rate of digestion of polysaccharides and blunding the post-prandial rise in serum glucose.  Previous work by Dr. Miller and colleagues demonstrated that treatment with acarbose increases lifespan.  This follow-up study confirms and extends that work, testing 3 different doses of acarbose in male and female HET3 mice.  Acarbose extended lifespan at all 3 doses, and did so in males to a much greater extent than in females.  Effects on lifespan and body weight at different doses are shown in the Figure (females (a) and (c); males (b) and (d)).  The two higher doses extended lifespan by 16-17% in males but only 4-5% in females.  The efficacy of acarbose to blunt post-prandial glucose rise was greater in males, whereas weight and fat-mass were reduced more in females than males, suggesting that the mechanism by which acarbose extends lifespan is not directly dependent on weight or fat mass but may be directly related to glycemia.  These results suggest a deleterious effect of transient periods of high blood sugar on lifespan and point to a need for further studies of interventions blunting post-prandial glucose elevation.

From Harrison et al., Aging Cell, 2019 Jan 27:e12898.  Copyright 2019 The Authors.  Aging Cell published by the Anatomical Society and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.  Figure licensed under Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0.

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