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An antidepressant that extends lifespan in adult Caenorhabditis elegans

An antidepressant for humans increases the lifespan of the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans. The drug usually blocks neural signalling by the neurotransmitter in human patients.

In Caenorhabditis elegans the positive effect on the lifespan can be reduced or destroyed by mutations affecting synthesis, re-uptake at synapses or either of two -coupled receptors. One of them recognises , the other , another .

The antidepressant drug is antagonist to both receptors, as in vitro experiments revealed. The drug was tested on dietary-restricted worms and worms with lifespan affecting mutations. The results suggest that the drug's effect on lifespan involves mechanisms connected to lifespan extension by starvation.

The study indicates that lifespan can be prolonged by blockage of certain types of neurotransmission involved in food sensing of the adult animal. This might lead to perceived starvation.

The team tested 88,000 chemicals for their ability to extend the lifespan of adult Caenorhabditis elegans nematodes.

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