Delaying Aging With Nanoparticles In Food

A study in flies suggests that iron oxide nanoparticles in food could potentially enhance lifespan by reducing oxidative stress.

AsianScientist (Jan. 11, 2016) – Scientists have found that feeding flies nanoparticles can promote longevity. The results of this study have been published in Advanced Materials.

The advent of nanotechnology has led to the development of a wide variety of nanomaterials, each with distinct physical and chemical properties. Many nanomaterials are cell permeable, allowing them to serve as nanoscale vehicles to aid in drug assembly and delivery. As such, they can potentially be of great benefit to biological research and medical therapy.

However, the biosafety of nanoparticles has been a cause of concern since they were first developed. The uptake of nanomaterials often induces intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), making them toxic to cells. High levels of ROS increase cellular oxidative stress and can trigger cell death. Increased ROS production over time has been closely associated with greater risk of metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, there is a need to explore the long-term effects of nanomaterials on intracellular ROS levels, particularly those with promising biomedical applications in vivo.

In a study on flies, researchers led by Dr. Song Haiyun from the Institute for Nutritional Sciences, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and by Dr. Fan Chunhai from the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, CAS, have found that nanoparticles could potentially extend lifespan.

The team tested the effects of iron oxide (Fe3O4) nanoparticles (NPs) on intracellular ROS levels and their biological consequences on several cell and animal models. Fe3O4 NPs is a type of biocompatible nanomaterial that has previously been widely used for bioimaging, biodiagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

The researchers found that Fe3O4 NPs could protect cultured cells under various stress conditions, including hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) treatment, through catalase-like activity. They demonstrated that Fe3O4 NPs retained this mimetic activity in vivo, helping to maintain optimal ROS balance, reduce intracellular oxidative stress, suppress cellular damage, delay animal aging and protect against neurodegeneration. These novel effects were further confirmed in Drosophila models of aging, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease.

The researchers hope that this study opens up new opportunities for the therapeutic use of Fe3O4 NPs in the treatment of metabolic disorders, neurodegenerative diseases and aging.

The article can be found at: Zhang et al. (2015) Dietary Iron Oxide Nanoparticles Delay Aging and Ameliorate Neurodegeneration in Drosophila.


Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences; Photo: Song Haiyun/CAS.
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