Lifespan extension through pharmacological intervention may provide valuable tools to understanding the mechanisms of aging and could uncover new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of age-related disease. Although the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is well known as a particularly suitable model for genetic manipulations, it has been recently used in a number of pharmacological studies searching for compounds with anti-aging activity. These compound screens are regularly performed in amphipathic solvents like dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), the solvent of choice for high-throughput drug screening experiments performed throughout the world. In this work, we report that exposing C. elegans to DMSO in liquid extends lifespan up to 20%. Interestingly, another popular amphipathic solvent, dimethyl formamide (DMF), produces a robust 50% increase in lifespan. These compounds work through a mechanism independent of insulin-like signaling and dietary restriction (DR). Additionally, the mechanism does not involve an increased resistance to free radicals or heat shock suggesting that stress resistance does not play a major role in the lifespan extension elicited by these compounds. Interestingly, we found that DMSO and DMF are able to decrease the paralysis associated with amyloid-β3-42 aggregation, suggesting a role of protein homeostasis for the mechanism elicited by these molecules to increase lifespan.
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