Synthetic compound SRT1720 helps obese mice live longer

Researchers are testing the effect of a synthetic resveratrol stimulator, known as SRT1720 to see if it might treat human diseases, reverse metabolic syndrome and help people live longer. In mouse studies, the compound did just that.

The compound has been suggested to have anti-aging properties from past studies.

SRT1720 activates a class of enzymes known as sirtuins, which are associated with the same positive health effects as calorie restriction.

In obese mice, scientists found improved liver, heart and pancreas function, compared to mice not given the patented compound.

The study is a collaborative effort of the National Institute on aging (NIA) and the drug company Sirtris, a GlaxoSmithKline company, and is published in the August 18, 2011, issue of Scientific Reports.

Drug suppresses gene pathway linked to aging

“This study has interesting implications for research on the biology of aging. It demonstrates that years of healthy life can be extended in an animal model of diet-induced obesity by a synthetic compound that modulates a gene pathway associated with aging," said NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D.”

For the study, NIA researchers used one year old obese male mice, comparing the effect of SRT1720 to a control group.

The scientists fed one group of mice a high fat diet, and the other regular foods. Both groups received either a high dose of SRT1720, a low dose of SRT1720 or no SRT172.

Senior author Rafael de Cabo, Ph.D., of the Laboratory of Experimental Gerontology at the NIA said "As we hypothesized, SRT1720 mimics dietary restriction, moderating many of the harmful effects of the high-fat diet and obesity. Furthermore, we found that the higher dose of the compound had a stronger effect and there were no signs of toxicity from SRT1720 even after 80 weeks of treatment.”

Mice given the compound lived 4 percent longer than the untreated group, and 18 percent longer with a higher dose of SRT 1720, even though they gained weight from the high-fat diet.

Even with a high-fat diet, liver function remained normal in mice given the treatment. The compound protected the pancreas from insulin resistance. 

High dose SRT1720 boosted HDL- the good - cholesterol levels in mice given a high-fat diet. The compound decreased inflammation and prevented death of heart cells.

The researchers also saw anti-aging effects in the liver, brain and kidneys, which they same came from the ability of the drug to suppress gene expression that comes from a high-fat diet.

The drug was studied in 2008 for its potential for burning fat. In the study, mice were given a high-fat diet, but did not gain weight.

Until the more research is done, no one knows if the SRT1720 mouse studies could apply to humans. The anti-aging, anti-obesity drug might help humans someday, but for now, the best remedy to stay young is through diet and exercise.