Effect of rapamycin on aging and age-related diseases-past and future

Geroscience. 2021 Jun;43(3):1135-1158. doi: 10.1007/s11357-020-00274-1. Epub 2020 Oct 10.


In 2009, rapamycin was reported to increase the lifespan of mice when implemented later in life. This observation resulted in a sea-change in how researchers viewed aging. This was the first evidence that a pharmacological agent could have an impact on aging when administered later in life, i.e., an intervention that did not have to be implemented early in life before the negative impact of aging. Over the past decade, there has been an explosion in the number of reports studying the effect of rapamycin on various diseases, physiological functions, and biochemical processes in mice. In this review, we focus on those areas in which there is strong evidence for rapamycin's effect on aging and age-related diseases in mice, e.g., lifespan, cardiac disease/function, central nervous system, immune system, and cell senescence. We conclude that it is time that pre-clinical studies be focused on taking rapamycin to the clinic, e.g., as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease.

Keywords: Aging; Cancer; Heart; Lifespan; Neurodegeneration; Rapamycin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Longevity
  • Mice
  • Sirolimus* / pharmacology


  • Sirolimus