Monday, December 03, 2007

An antidepressant that extends lifespan.

In worms, that is. Petrascheck et al. show that mianserin, a serotonin receptor antagonist used as an antidepressant in humans, extends the lifespan of the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, by one third. Its action shows similarities to lifespan extension by dietary restriction. One possibility is that mianserin induces a state of perceived — rather than real — starvation. Intriguingly, appetite stimulation is a side effect of mianserin in humans, raising the possibility of linkage between appetite and lifespan.

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