Resveratrol and the pharmacology of aging: a new vertebrate model to validate an old molecule
The natural phytoalexin resveratrol, found in grapes and red wine, recently rose to public fame for its positive effects on longevity in yeasts, worms and flies. Resveratrol anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory in vitro action on mammalian cell cultures also suggest a possible positive effect on human health and life-expectancy. To study the effects of resveratrol on vertebrate aging is obviously a particularly relevant question. We have studied resveratrol effects in a very short-lived vertebrate: the annual fish Nothobranchius furzeri. Resveratrol treatment prolonged lifespan and delayed the onset of age-related dysfunctions in this fish. This result identifies resveratrol as the first molecule which consistently retards aging in organisms as diverse as yeast, worm, fly and fish, but it also reveals the potential of this short-lived fish as an animal model for pharmacological research. Moreover, being related to stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) the "pufferfishes" Takifugu and Tetraodon, and even more closely related to medaka (Oryzias latipes), it can greatly beneficiate from the recent development of genomic resources for these fish models and in the future become a complete model system for the aging research community.