Emodin extends lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans through insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway depending on DAF-16 and SIR-2.1

The naturally occurring anthraquinone emodin has been serving primarily as an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agent. However, little is known about its potential on anti-aging. This investigation examined the effect of emodin on lifespan and focused on its physiological molecular mechanisms in vivo. Using Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) as an animal model, we found emodin could extend lifespan of worms and improve their antioxidant capacity. Our mechanistic studies revealed that emodin might function via insulin/IGF-1 signaling (IIS) pathway involving, specifically the core transcription factor DAF-16. Quantitative RT-PCR results illustrated that emodin up-regulated transcription of DAF-16 target genes which express antioxidants to promote antioxidant capacity and lifespan of worms. In addition, attenuated effect in sir-2.1 mutants suggests that emodin likely functioned in a SIR-2.1-dependent manner. Our study uncovers a novel role of emodin in prolonging lifespan and supports the understanding of emodin being a beneficial dietary supplement.

Emodin promotes lifespan and antioxidant capacity of C. elegans through insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway depending on DAF-16 and SIR-2.1.