Scientists at the University of Paris and colleagues fed the molecule fullerene (C60 or “buckyballs”) dissolved in olive oil to rats and found it almost doubles their lifespan, with no chronic toxicity.
The results suggest that the effect of C60, an antioxidant, on lifespan is mainly due to the attenuation of age-associated increases in oxidative stress, according to the researchers. Moreover, the researchers speculate that a longer treatment could have generated even longer lifespans.
Pharmacokinetic studies show that dissolved C60 is absorbed by the gastro-intestinal tract and eliminated in a few tens of hours.
“These results of importance in the fields of medicine and toxicology should open the way for the many possible biomedical applications of C60 including cancer therapy, neurodegenerative disorders, and aging,” the researcher suggest.
|Optical microscopy of spleen sections: (a) oral and (b) i.p. treatment with olive oil only; (c) oral and (d) i.p. treatment with C60-olive oil. The arrows indicate C60 crystals-containing macrophages (brown). (Credit: T. Baati et al./Biomaterials)|
“C60 can be administered orally, and as it is now produced in tons, it is no longer necessary to resort to its water-soluble derivatives, which are difficult to purify and, in contrast to pristine C60, may be toxic.
The article concludes:
The effect of pristine C60 on lifespan emphasizes the absence of chronic toxicity. These results obtained with a small sample of animals with an exploratory protocol ask for a more extensive
studies to optimize the intestinal absorption of C60 as well as the different parameters of the administration protocol: dose, posology, and treatment duration. In the present case, the treatment was stopped when a control rat died at M17, which proves that the effects of the C60 treatment are long-lasting as the estimated median lifespan for C60-treated rats is 42 months. It can be thought that a longer treatment could have generated even longer lifespans. Anyway, this work should open the road towards the development of the considerable potential of C60 in the biomedical ﬁeld,including cancer therapy, neurodegenerative disorders and ageing. Furthermore, in the ﬁeld of ageing, as C60 can be administered orally and as it is now produced in tons, it is no longer necessary to resort to its water-soluble derivatives, which are difﬁcult to purify and in contrast to pristine C60 may be toxic.
Since 1993, countless studies showed that fullerene (C60) and derivatives exhibit paramount potentialities in several fields of biology and medicine, mainly including specific DNA cleavage, imaging, UV and radioprotection, antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-amyloid activities, allergic response and angiogenesis inhibitions, immune stimulating and antitumor effects, enhancing effect on neurite outgrowth, gene delivery, and even hair-growing activity, a summary in the Biomaterials paper stated.
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