Life extension in Drosophila by feeding a drug

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Jan 22;99(2):838-43. doi: 10.1073/pnas.022631999. Epub 2002 Jan 15.


We report that feeding Drosophila throughout adulthood with 4-phenylbutyrate (PBA) can significantly increase lifespan, without diminution of locomotor vigor, resistance to stress, or reproductive ability. Treatment for a limited period, either early or late in adult life, is also effective. Flies fed PBA show a global increase in histone acetylation as well as a dramatically altered pattern of gene expression, including induction or repression of numerous genes. The delay in aging may result from the altered physiological state.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Animals
  • Drosophila / drug effects*
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Genes, Insect / drug effects
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Longevity / drug effects*
  • Longevity / genetics
  • Longevity / physiology
  • Male
  • Phenylbutyrates / pharmacology*


  • Histones
  • Phenylbutyrates
  • 4-phenylbutyric acid