Cell biologists at Erasmus University have released a study about a new molecule they designed, a shortened FOXO4 peptide that attaches to the protective protein p53 which prompts aging cells to die off while preserving healthy cells. As with many other peptides, this one will have to be injected or inhaled, as it is destroyed by the digestive system.
Liver and kidney function was easily restored in mice that were the equivalent of 90 years old in humans, they were able to double their distance running on a wheel, their lost hair was regrown, and frailty was reduced. No side effects were observed in the mice, although the scientists noted that mice can’t talk so any side effects may be thus far undetected. The researchers believe that the peptide could also be used target malignant cancer, although there isn’t any evidence suggesting this yet.
They also are cautious of larger systemic complications that may occur from a large cancer cell die-off, “Although the molecule did not reduce the number of platelets in either mouse group, killing off large numbers of senescent cells could still trigger a potentially fatal complication sometimes suffered by cancer patients. Moreover, senescent cells foster wound healing, and destroying the cells could impair this ability.”
The accumulation of irreparable cellular damage restricts healthspan after acute stress or natural aging. Senescent cells are thought to impair tissue function, and their genetic clearance can delay features of aging. Identifying how senescent cells avoid apoptosis allows for the prospective design of anti-senescence compounds to address whether homeostasis can also be restored. Here, we identify FOXO4 as a pivot in senescent cell viability. We designed a FOXO4 peptide that perturbs the FOXO4 interaction with p53. In senescent cells, this selectively causes p53 nuclear exclusion and cell-intrinsic apoptosis. Under conditions where it was well tolerated in vivo, this FOXO4 peptide neutralized doxorubicin-induced chemotoxicity. Moreover, it restored fitness, fur density, and renal function in both fast aging XpdTTD/TTD and naturally aged mice. Thus, therapeutic targeting of senescent cells is feasible under conditions where loss of health has already occurred, and in doing so tissue homeostasis can effectively be restored.
Peptides are a very exciting area of study for age-related treatments as well as for other nootropics purposes. While FOXO4 may not be available to purchase for some time, there are a number of peptides that you can currently try in our guide Peptides Worth Buying
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