Statins may slow human aging by protecting against telomere shortening: A feature of senescent cells

Not only do statins extend lives by lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the risks of cardiovascular disease, but new research in the September 2013 issue of The FASEB Journal suggests that they may extend lifespans as well. Specifically, statins may reduce the rate at which telomeres shorten, a key factor in the natural aging process. This opens the door for using statins, or derivatives of statins, as an anti-aging therapy.

"By telomerase activation, statins may represent a new molecular switch able to slow down in our tissues and be able to lead healthy lifespan extension," said Giuseppe Paolisso, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Internal Medicine, Surgical, Neurological Metabolic Disease and Geriatric Medicine at Second University of Naples in Naples, Italy.

To make this discovery, Paolisso and colleagues worked with two groups of subjects. The first group was under chronic statin therapy, and the second group (control), did not use statins. When researchers measured telomerase activity in both groups, those undergoing statin treatment had higher telomerase activity in their , which was associated with lower telomeres shortening along with aging as compared to the control group. This strongly 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," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "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."

More information: Virginia Boccardi, Michelangela Barbieri, Maria Rosaria Rizzo, Raffaele Marfella, Antonietta Esposito, Luigi Marano, and Giuseppe Paolisso. A new pleiotropic effect of statins in elderly: modulation of telomerase activity. FASEB J September 2013 27:3879-3885, DOI: 10.1096/fj.13-232066

Related Stories

Should everyone over 65 take a statin?

date Aug 28, 2013

(HealthDay)—Men and women over 65 who are at risk for cardiovascular disease but don't have any known heart problems might benefit from cholesterol-lowering drugs, a new study suggests.

Recommended for you

A-fib recurrence common five years after ablation

date Apr 17, 2015

(HealthDay)—Most patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and systolic heart failure who undergo ablation have AF recurrence at five years, according to a study published in the April issue of the Journal of ...

Applied physics helps decipher the causes of sudden death

date Apr 17, 2015

Sudden cardiac death accounts for approximately 10% of natural deaths, most of which are due to ventricular fibrillation. Each year, it causes 300,000 deaths in the United States and 20,000 in Spain. Researchers have demonstrated ...

Cognitive problems are common after cardiac arrest

date Apr 17, 2015

Half of all patients who survive a cardiac arrest experience problems with cognitive functions such as memory and attention. This has been shown by a major international study led from Lund University. Surprisingly, however, ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.