Rhodiola rosea extends lifespan and improves stress tolerance in silkworm, Bombyx mori

Biogerontology. 2016 Apr;17(2):373-81. doi: 10.1007/s10522-015-9622-8. Epub 2015 Oct 24.


The root of Rhodiola rosea is widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The extract from R. rosea is reported to extend the lifespan of yeast, nematode, and fruit fly. However, the molecular mechanism is not fully understood. Here, we tested whether R. rosea extends the lifespan of the silkworm. An aqueous extract of R. rosea significantly prolonged the lifespan of the silkworm, without affecting its daily food intake, body weight, or fecundity, suggesting that R. rosea did not exhibit obvious side effects. Rhodiola rosea extract also enhanced the stress resistance in the silkworm, against heat stress (37 °C) and starvation. The R. rosea extract increased the activity of the major antioxidant enzymes, glutathione S-transferase and catalase, and altered the content of glutathione and malondialdehyde. Rhodiola rosea increased the expression of BmFoxO, which is a downstream regulator of insulin/IGF-1 signaling (IIS) pathway in the silkworm. Our results showed that R. rosea extends lifespan, in which IIS pathway might be involved, and enhances stress resistance in the silkworm. Thus, the silkworm might be used as a novel animal model for lifespan study and efficacy evaluation of Traditional Chinese Medicines.

Keywords: Bombyx mori; IIS pathway; Lifespan; Oxidative stress; Rhodiola rosea.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / drug effects*
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Bombyx / physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior / drug effects
  • Fertility / drug effects
  • Longevity / drug effects*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Rhodiola / chemistry*
  • Stress, Physiological / drug effects*


  • Plant Extracts