Rifampicin reduces advanced glycation end products and activates DAF-16 to increase lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans

Aging Cell. 2015 Jun;14(3):463-73. doi: 10.1111/acel.12327. Epub 2015 Feb 26.


Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are formed when glucose reacts nonenzymatically with proteins; these modifications are implicated in aging and pathogenesis of many age-related diseases including type II diabetes, atherosclerosis, and neurodegenerative disorders. Thus, pharmaceutical interventions that can reduce AGEs may delay age-onset diseases and extend lifespan. Using LC-MS(E), we show that rifampicin (RIF) reduces glycation of important cellular proteins in vivo and consequently increases lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans by up to 60%. RIF analog rifamycin SV (RSV) possesses similar properties, while rifaximin (RMN) lacks antiglycation activity and therefore fails to affect lifespan positively. The efficacy of RIF and RSV as potent antiglycating agents may be attributed to the presence of a p-dihydroxyl moiety that can potentially undergo spontaneous oxidation to yield highly reactive p-quinone structures, a feature absent in RMN. We also show that supplementing rifampicin late in adulthood is sufficient to increase lifespan. For its effect on longevity, rifampicin requires DAF-18 (nematode PTEN) as well as JNK-1 and activates DAF-16, the FOXO homolog. Interestingly, the drug treatment modulates transcription of a different subset of DAF-16 target genes, those not controlled by the conserved Insulin-IGF-1-like signaling pathway. RIF failed to increase the lifespan of daf-16 null mutant despite reducing glycation, showing thereby that DAF-16 may not directly affect AGE formation. Together, our data suggest that the dual ability to reduce glycation in vivo and activate prolongevity processes through DAF-16 makes RIF and RSV effective lifespan-extending interventions.

Keywords: Caenorhabditis elegans; DAF-16; advanced glycation end products; aging; glycation; lifespan; rifampicin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Antibiotics, Antitubercular / pharmacology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / drug effects
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism*
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / metabolism*
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Longevity / drug effects*
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Rifampin / pharmacology*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / genetics


  • Antibiotics, Antitubercular
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced
  • Insulin
  • daf-16 protein, C elegans
  • Rifampin