6 Anti-Ageing Effects of Rapamycin

The 30-year old drug rapamycin is produced by the bacterium Streptomyces hygroscopicus.

Rapamycin was originally used as an immunosuppressant to prevent organ transplant rejection.

Since its discovery, rapamycin has been found to have many beneficial effects related to ageing.

Rapamycin tricks the body into 'thinking' that there is a lack of available nutrients by inhibiting a molecule called mTOR.

This encourages cells to prioritise survival and sustain themselves, instead of growing and multiplying to exhaustion.

What follows are six effects of rapamycin on age- related diseases that have so far been studied.

1: Lifespan Extension

15 studies (at the time of writing) have found significant lifespan extension in rodents. This applies even when the drug is administered late in life.

1: Lifespan Extension

The degree of lifespan extension varies greatly with dose and with the strain of animal. Most studies show an increase of 10%-30%.

2: Protection From Cancer

Rapamycin increases survival of mice with a variety of cancers due to its ablity to inhibit cell growth and division.

3: Improved Cardiovascular Health

Animal studies have found rapamycin to protect against atherosclerosis, improve cerebral blood flow, and improve heart function in elderly mice.

4: Neuroprotective Effects

One of the most surprising findings concerning rapamycin is its effect on the central nervous system.

Rapamycin can prevent cognitive decline in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease, as well as reducing the aggregation of amyloid beta.

4: Neuroprotective Effects

Rapamycin also seems to protect mouse brains against injury and vascular disease, and can even improve cognition.

5: Improved Immune Response

Given that rapamycin was developed as an immune suppressant, one would expect it to weaken the immune response.

Surprisingly, evidence overwhelmingly suggests that rapamycin protects againgst infectious diseases in mice.

5: Improved Immune Response

It may therefore be more fitting to call rapamycin an 'immunomodulator' rather than an immunosuppressant. 

6: Reduced Senescence

18 studies published since 2009 suggest that rapamycin can suppress senescence in human, mouse and rat cells.