Monday, March 11, 2013

Salute! Resveratrol does activate sirtuins!

There is a long and complicated story about the role of a class of enzymes termed sirtuins in ageing. Substantial evidence indicates that activation of these enzymes can have many positive health benefits and (at least in simple organisms) can extend the lifespan. This really got interesting a few years ago when it was discovered that resveratrol, a small molecule found in red wine, could activate SIRT1, one of the key sirtuins. Obviously this conjures up images of spry nonagenarians quaffing huge glasses of vino! However, the linkage between resveratrol and sirtuin activation has remained controversial. Now, however, a solid publication in SCIENCE has confirmed the link. This sets the stage for the pharmaceutical industry to pursue novel molecules that will act like resveratrol but be much more selective and powerful. Whether this will be of benefit to human health and longevity remains to be seen, but you can bet the race for anti-ageing drugs is on! 

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