It increases the lifespan for nematode worms by 50% and slows the progression of Alzheimer's.
ScienceDaily (Mar. 31, 2011) — Basic Yellow 1, a dye used in neuroscience laboratories around the world to detect damaged protein in Alzheimer's disease, is a wonder drug for nematode worms. In a study appearing in Nature, the dye, also known as Thioflavin T (ThT), extended lifespan in healthy nematode worms by more than 50 percent and slowed the disease process in worms bred to mimic aspects of Alzheimer's. The research, conducted at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, could open new ways to intervene in aging and age-related disease.
The study highlights a process called protein homeostasis -- the ability of an organism to maintain the proper structure and balance of its proteins, which are the building blocks of life. Genetic studies have long indicated that protein homeostasis is a major contributor to longevity in complex animals. Many degenerative diseases have been linked to a breakdown in the process. Buck faculty member Gordon Lithgow, PhD, who led the research, said this study points to the use of compounds to support protein homeostasis, something that ThT, did as the worms aged.