An extract made from grape seeds can eliminate the action of cells that cause aging, improving health and longevity. The discovery, published this Monday (6) in the scientific journal Nature Metabolism, is the result of research that investigated mechanisms capable of inhibiting the action of so-called senescent cells, which contribute to the functional decline of organs, constituting a risk factor for chronic diseases.
Normal cells in our body become senescent from exposure to chemicals and radiation, or as we age. When any of these factors occur, these vital units start to develop the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). It is the progressive accumulation of these cells that accelerates the age-related decline in physical function and the chronicity of various pathologies.
In the current study, Chinese and American scientists tested the application of natural extracts in a model using cultured human prostate cells. Among all the applications, one of the main components of the grape seed extract – the flavonoid procyanidin C1 (PCC1) – not only killed the senescent cells, but left the normal cells intact.
Increasing the life of rodents
PCC1 was administered to old, irradiated mice with senescent cells implanted or naturally aged. The substance, a polyphenol found naturally in grape seed, alleviated the physical dysfunction and prolonged the subjects’ survival.
Applied in a population of 48 males and 43 females aged between 24 and 27 months (equivalent to something between 75 and 90 years in a human), fortnightly injections of PCC1 were able to increase the remaining life of these “old” mice in more than 60%, which represented an increase in the total service life of about 9%.
The conclusion of the research is that PCC1 is a natural senotherapeutic agent, with proven activity in vivo and a high potential to be used as a clinical intervention capable of delaying, alleviating or even preventing aging-related pathologies. However, the authors ponder, this molecular mechanism of action still requires further clarification, in addition to careful evaluations for the application of the active principle in human beings.