A team of researchers from Brown University recently conducted a study to clarify the discrepancies of countless fundamental studies about the biology of aging, using a model of C. elegans worms as they age.
There are remarkable similarities between the aging process of small C. elegans worms and human beings. These worms asexually reproduce themselves as exact copies, which may have caused discrepancies in other research.
These discrepancies stirred Brown University scientists to conduct a study with the worms and a drug, which prevents this confusing reproduction, and made a surprising discovery. The drug, FUdR, which is typically used for chemotherapy, allowed the worms to quickly rebound from stress, which helped to extend their lifespans in several cases.
The detailed study demonstrated that the drug is able to trigger the stress response inside the worms. The treatment stimulates the DNA repair pathways -- which are also in human beings and other mammals -- to help the worms to handle adverse conditions, like heat, saltiness, or low oxygen, much more easily.
“We can explain a lot of the disagreement in the C. elegans aging field by realizing that FuDR can dramatically change the answer,” Anne Hart, professor of neuroscience, said.
The study has been printed in Mechanisms of Ageing and Development.