Spermidine prevents dementia in fruit flies

1 September 2013

Feeding fruit flies with the natural cell component spermidine prevents memory impairment, according to research conducted by Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin and the University of Graz. The study has been published in Nature Neuroscience [1].

The study showed that feeding the fruit flies spermidine triggered a cellular cleansing process that significantly reduced the amount of protein aggregates in the fruit fly brains. This was followed by an improvement in the memory performance of older fruit flies to juvenile levels.

As memory processes in animals such as fruit flies and mice are similar to those in humans, the research shows there is potential for developing substances for treating age-related memory impairment in humans also.

Spermidine is a polyamine compound, C7H19N3, that is found in living tissues of animals and plants and has various metabolic functions. It was originally isolated from semen, hence the name. In previous laboratory studies it has been found to delay aging in yeast, flies, worms and some human cells.

Chemical model of spermidine
Model of the chemical structure of Spermidine (C7H19N3).
Blue balls are nitrogen, black carbon, white hydrogen.

The researchers plan to conduct further studies with human patients.


1. Gupta VK, et al. Restoring polyamines protects from age-induced memory impairment in an autophagy-dependent manner, Nature Neuroscience, Advance Online Publication, 1 September 2013, doi:10.1038/nn.3512


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