Withanolide A (steroidal lactone) forms the major constituent of the most popular herbal drug in Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha. It has been used since ancient times as an alternative medicine for the treatment of a variety of age related disorders. Here we provide multiple lines of evidence indicating that Withanolide A improves healthspan, delays age-associated physiological changes and also extends the lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans. We also report several neuroprotective benefits of this natural product, including its anti-amyloidogenic effects, alleviation of α-synuclein aggregation and neuroprotection through modulation of neural mediators like acetylcholine. We observed that Withanolide A mediates lifespan extension and promotes stress resistance via insulin/insulin-like growth factor signaling pathway. Such findings could be helpful to develop a therapeutic medicine from this natural product for the prevention or reversal of age-related ailments and to improve the survival of patients suffering from Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease.
Keywords: Aging; Caenorhabditis elegans; Insulin/IGF-1 pathway; Neuroprotection; Withanolide A.
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