A strain of prehistoric bacteria recently discovered in the Siberian permafrost may help retard aging, according to Russian researchers.
The hardy bacteria known as Bacillius F was examined by researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences, then tested on mice. They claim the ancient bacteria, when injected into the mice, was able to slow aging by boosting the animals’ natural immunity as they matured.
Bacillius F is a resilient bacteria that is estimated to be about three million years behind in its evolutionary development compared to similar bacteria, according to the researchers. The factors they evaluated to make this determination included the proteins it contains. Organisms found in this region, including bacteria, reproduce at just five degrees Celsius.
“We just thought: since the bacteria were found in the permafrost where they were successfully preserved they will possibly have mechanisms of retaining viability,” stated Nadezhda Mironova, a senior research scientist at the Institute of Chemical Biology and Fundamental Medicine of the Russian Academy of Sciences. “This is what happened.”
Metabolism in the tested mice reportedly increased by 20 to 30% after they were treated. The researchers concluded that this bacterium may also reduce instances of age-related blindness.
According to an AFP report, “The Russian Academy of Sciences did not say how many mice were tested, adding more animals were needed for the experiments to be more reliable. The mice from a test group lived longer than those in a control group however, it said, calling the results ‘impressive.’”
This isn’t the first report linking Siberian-discovered bacterium with longevity.
Similar research, reported by some of the same researchers, published in Advances in Gerontology, explains why there is so much interest:
Relict microorganisms preserved in the permafrost of geological periods possess a unique resistance to unfavorable factors of the internal and external environment. Their metabolic, DNA repair, and growth capacities are still under discussion, but the very fact of their existence in permafrost during many thousands of years is evidence of their phenomenal viability.
Additional research by scientists from the Russian Academy of Sciences related to anti-aging bacterium in mice was published in Neuroscience and Behavioral Physiology in 2011. The particular bacterium strain studied was known as 3M.
Testing a strain of the permafrost bacteria on fruit flies resulted in various positive results, according to the researchers. After finding that the bacterium enhanced the longevity and immunity of mice and fruit flies, they conducted additional studies. They found treating the fruit flies with the bacteria increased the body weight and resistance to heat shock and ultraviolet irradiation of mature, adult fruit flies.
In 2009, The Daily Mail reported on “pre-historic Viagra,” a bacterium which they claimed increased “mental alertness, physical prowess and sexual activity, with females reportedly having babies into old age.”
Also uncovered in the Yakutia region of Siberia, this bacterium was found in an area in which researchers also recovered the remains of extinct mammoths.
It’s immediately unclear whether these projects are specifically interrelated, although the latter discovery was also reported by scientists from the Russian Academy of Sciences.