Age is decisive for positive or negative effects of the diabetes drug metformin

Metformin is a common type 2 diabetes drug. Recently, it was found to extend life span of young non-diabetic animals but the responses of older organisms to metformin remain unexplored. Researchers at the Leibniz Institute on Aging—Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI) in Jena, Germany, and the Friedrich Schiller University Jena found that mitochondrial dysfunction abrogates metformin benefits in aged C. elegans and late passage human cells. Moreover, the same metformin regime that prolongs the lifespan of young nematodes was toxic in old animals by inducing deleterious metabolic changes. These findings suggest that aging sets a limit for the health span benefits of metformin outside of diabetes.

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