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Lab Reports
January 7, 2009

Senses and Lifespan

JAMA. 2009;301(1):26. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.926

Scientists studying the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans found that the anticonvulsant drug ethosuximide delays age-related changes and extends the animal's lifespan by inhibiting certain chemosensory neurons (Collins JJ et al. PLoS Genet. 2008;4[10]:e1000230).

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Mo, identified genes that mediated the activity of ethosuximide. They found mutations in 2 of the genes, che-3 and osm-3; these mutations cause defects in chemosensory neurons, which in turn result in an extended lifespan. This suggests that ethosuximide extends lifespan by inhibiting the function of specific chemosensory neurons.

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