Catechin induced longevity in C. elegans: from key regulator genes to disposable soma

Mech Ageing Dev. 2009 Aug;130(8):477-86. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2009.05.005. Epub 2009 Jun 6.


The flavanol catechin is a ubiquitous metabolite within the plant kingdom. Several health benefits have previously been reported, however, to date, most attention has been devoted to gallated forms of catechin. This study utilized the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to assess potential life expanding effects of non-gallated catechin. Longevity was observed at three different catechin concentrations, an effect that was neither linked to a specific temperature nor to the viability of the feeding bacteria. Taken all tests into account, hormesis, calorie restriction, as well as the presence of simple antioxidative or antibacterial effects could be excluded. Likewise, the insulin/IGF-1 like signaling pathway and the calmodulin kinase II pathway were not considered to play a major mechanic role. Moreover, stress resistance was enhanced without a marked alteration in reproductive behavior. In addition, lifespan tests with various stress and lifespan relevant mutant strains revealed that the life span extending phenotype was absent in mev-1, daf-2, akt-2 and nhr-8. Finally, catechin elicited a significant reduction in body length, a finding that is in line with the "Disposable Soma Theory". It is proposed that catechin modulates an energy-intensive stress response and repair system that results in reduced body length and an enhanced lifespan.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase Type 2 / metabolism
  • Caloric Restriction
  • Catechin / metabolism*
  • Flavonoids / chemistry
  • Free Radicals
  • Genotype
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Longevity*
  • Pharynx / pathology
  • Phenols / chemistry
  • Phenotype
  • Polyphenols
  • Signal Transduction
  • Temperature
  • Time Factors


  • Flavonoids
  • Free Radicals
  • Insulin
  • Phenols
  • Polyphenols
  • Catechin
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase Type 2