University of Montreal researchers have discovered a novel molecular mechanism that can potentially slows the aging process and may prevent the progression of some cancers.
In the March 23 online edition of the prestigious journal Aging Cell, scientists from the University of Montreal explain how they found that the antidiabetic drug metformin reduces the production of inflammatory cytokines that normally activate the immune system, but if overproduced can lead to pathological inflammation, a condition that both damages tissues in aging and favors tumor growth.
“Cells normally secrete these inflammatory cytokines when they need to mount an immune response to infection, but chronic production of these same cytokines can also cause cells to age. Such chronic inflammation can be induced, for example by smoking” and old cells are particular proficient at making and releasing cytokines says Dr. Gerardo Ferbeyre, senior author and a University of Montreal biochemistry professor. He adds that, “We were surprised by our finding that metformin could prevent the production of inflammatory cytokines by old cells ”.
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