This result is reminiscent of the demonstration that ethanol produces significant life extension in nematodes - and similarly, one wonders whether it will be confirmed, and if so why it wasn't noted a long time ago. If it is accurate, it casts doubt on a range of life span studies that used the solvents in question.
Lifespan extension through pharmacological intervention may provide valuable tools to understanding the mechanisms of aging and could uncover new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of age-related disease. Although the nematode C. elegans is well known as a particularly suitable model for genetic manipulations, it has been recently used in a number of pharmacological studies searching for compounds with anti-aging activity. These compound screens are regularly performed in amphipathic solvents like dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), the solvent of choice for high-throughput drug screening experiments performed throughout the world.
In this work, we report that exposing C. elegans to DMSO in liquid extends lifespan up to 20%. Interestingly, another popular amphipathic solvent, dimethyl formamide (DMF), produces a robust 50% increase in lifespan. These compounds work through a mechanism independent of insulin-like signaling and dietary restriction (DR). Additionally, the mechanism does not involve an increased resistance to free radicals or heat shock suggesting that stress resistance does not play a major role in the lifespan extension elicited by these compounds. Interestingly, we found that DMSO and DMF are able to decrease the paralysis associated with amyloid-β(3-42) aggregation, suggesting a role of protein homeostasis for the mechanism elicited by these molecules to increase lifespan.