Mechanisms involved in anti-aging effects of guarana (Paullinia cupana) in Caenorhabditis elegans
Guarana (Paullinia cupana) is habitually ingested by people in the Amazon region and is a key ingredient in various energy drinks consumed worldwide. Extension in longevity and low prevalence of chronic age-related diseases have been associated to habitual intake of guarana. Anti-aging potential of guarana was also demonstrated in Caenorhabditis elegans; however, the mechanisms involved in its effects are not clear. Herein, we investigated the putative pathways that regulate the effects of guarana ethanolic extract (GEE) on lifespan using C. elegans. The major known longevity pathways were analyzed through mutant worms and RT-qPCR assay (DAF-2, DAF-16, SKN-1, SIR-2.1, HSF-1). The possible involvement of purinergic signaling was also investigated. This study demonstrated that GEE acts through antioxidant activity, DAF-16, HSF-1, and SKN-1 pathways, and human adenosine receptor ortholog (ADOR-1) to extend lifespan. GEE also downregulated skn-1, daf-16, sir-2.1 and hsp-16.2 in 9-day-old C. elegans, which might reflect less need to activate these protective genes due to direct antioxidant effects. Our results contribute to the comprehension of guarana effects in vivo, which might be helpful to prevent or treat aging-associated disorders, and also suggest purinergic signaling as a plausible therapeutic target for longevity studies.