Science 307: 258-262 (2005)

Anticonvulsant Medications Extend Worm Life-Span

Kimberley Evason, Cheng Huang, Idella Yamben, Douglas F. Covey, Kerry Kornfeld

Department of Molecular Biology and Pharmacology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.

Genetic studies have elucidated mechanisms that regulate aging, but there has been little progress in identifying drugs that delay aging. Here, we report that ethosuximide, trimethadione, and 3,3-diethyl-2-pyrrolidinone increase mean and maximum life-span of Caenorhabditis elegans and delay age-related declines of physiological processes, indicating that these compounds retard the aging process. These compounds, two of which are approved for human use, are anticonvulsants that modulate neural activity. These compounds also regulated neuromuscular activity in nematodes. These findings suggest that the life-span-extending activity of these compounds is related to the anticonvulsant activity and implicate neural activity in the regulation of aging.