July 24, 2024

Compound MIC Found to Extend Lifespan and Rejuvenate Cells

Scientists at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging have discovered a promising natural compound that has the potential to extend lifespan and improve cellular function. The compound, known as MIC (Micophagy-Inducing Compound), is a natural coumarin that is found in certain types of cinnamon. It has a range of beneficial properties, including anticoagulant, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anticancer, and antihyperglycemic effects. Additionally, MIC acts as an antioxidant and has neuroprotective benefits.

One of the key findings of the study is that MIC boosts the activity of a protein called transcription factor EB (TFEB), which plays a pivotal role in directing cellular autophagy and lysosomal functions. Autophagy is the process of intracellular recycling carried out by lysosome organelles, and it is critical for maintaining cellular health. However, this process tends to decline with age. MIC was found to enhance TFEB expression, leading to improved autophagy.

In experiments with Caenorhabditis elegans nematodes, a commonly used model organism for studying aging, MIC significantly extended the lifespan of the worms. Furthermore, it was able to block mitochondrial dysfunction in the muscle cells of mice. Mitochondria are responsible for powering cells, and proper mitochondrial function is essential for overall health and longevity. Defective mitochondrial function, particularly a specific type of autophagy known as mitophagy, is a major contributor to age-related conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

The researchers believe that MIC could be the first drug-like molecule capable of maintaining mitochondrial health through efficient mitophagy. By promoting effective mitophagy, MIC may slow down the aging process and mitigate the development of age-related diseases. Mitophagy is a selective form of autophagy that plays a crucial role in quality control within mitochondria.

Interestingly, the study also uncovered a brain-gut connection underlying the efficacy of MIC. The gut microbiome and the gut-brain axis are closely linked to cognitive health, with gut microbes regulating brain function and neurodegeneration. MIC was found to block the activation of a hormone receptor called DAF-12 in the worms, leading to enhanced mitophagy and increased lifespan. In humans, the equivalent receptor is FXR, and changes in the gut microbiome associated with aging can disrupt its function, ultimately leading to mitochondrial deterioration in neurons.

The researchers highlight the importance of maintaining proper levels of bile acids, which are impacted by the gut microbiome, for efficient mitophagy. Neurons, which have a high number of mitochondria, are particularly vulnerable to mitochondrial dysfunction, making mitophagy crucial for neuronal health and preventing neurodegeneration.

Overall, the findings of this study provide valuable insights into the potential of MIC as a therapeutic agent for promoting healthy aging and preventing age-related diseases. Further research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms of action and to evaluate the safety and efficacy of MIC in human trials. Nevertheless, these findings offer hope for the development of novel anti-aging interventions in the future.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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