Handelin extends lifespan and healthspan of Caenorhabditis elegans by reducing ROS generation and improving motor function

Biogerontology. 2022 Feb;23(1):115-128. doi: 10.1007/s10522-022-09950-5. Epub 2022 Jan 17.


Aging and aging-related disorders contribute to formidable socioeconomic and healthcare challenges. Several promising small molecules have been identified to target conserved genetic pathways delaying aging to extend lifespan and healthspan in many organisms. We previously found that extract from an edible and medicinal plant Chrysanthemum indicum L. (C. indicum L.) protect skin from UVB-induced photoaging, partially by reducing reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. Thus, we hypothesized that C. indicum L. and its biological active compound may extend lifespan and health span in vivo. We find that both water and ethanol extracts from C. indicum L. extended lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans, with better biological effect on life extending for ethanol extracts. As one of the major biological active compounds, handelin extended lifespan of C. elegans too. RNA-seq analysis revealed overall gene expression change of C. elegans post stimulation of handelin focus on several antioxidative proteins. Handelin significantly reduced ROS level and maintained the number and morphology of mitochondria. Moreover, handelin improveed many C. elegans behaviors related to healthspan, including increased pharyngeal pumping and body movement. Muscle fiber imaging analyses revealed that handelin maintains muscle architecture by stabilizing myofilaments. In conclusion, our present study finds a novel compound handelin, from C. indicum L., which bring about biologically beneficial effects by mild stress response, termed as hormetin, that can extend both lifespan and healthspan in vivo on C. elegans. Further study on mammal animal model of natural aging or sarcopenia will verify the potential clinical value of handelin.

Keywords: Aging; Handelin; Hormesis; Hormetin; Mitochondria; Motor function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins* / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins* / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans* / physiology
  • Ethanol / pharmacology
  • Longevity / physiology
  • Mammals / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Terpenes


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Plant Extracts
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Terpenes
  • Ethanol
  • handelin