An enzyme-blocking molecule can extend the lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans roundworms by as much as 45 percent, largely by modulating a cannabinoid biological pathway, according to a study from scientists at Scripps Research.
The scientists, whose work is published on March 25 in Nature Chemical Biology, also showed that the lifespan-extending cannabinoid pathway in C. elegans is related in unexpected ways to cannabinoid pathways found in humans and other mammals.
"This study reveals a new life-extension pathway, but more broadly, it introduces a powerful method for applying chemical probes to lab animals such as worms to discover biology that may be relevant to humans," says study senior author Benjamin Cravatt, PhD, Professor and Gilula Chair of Chemical Biology at Scripps Research.
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