Statins that protect against DNA shortening by telomerase activation may also hold anti-ageing properties and prevent age related diseases, a study claims.
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.
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, said that by telomerase activation, statins may represent a new molecular switch able to slow down senescent cells in our tissues and be able to lead healthy lifespan extension.
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 white blood cells, 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 new research has been published in The FASEB Journal.