Long-term treatment with Elamipretide enhances healthy aging phenotypes in mice
Disruption of metabolic and bioenergetic homeostasis related to mitochondrial dysfunction is a key driver of aging biology. Therefore, targeting mitochondrial function would be a rational approach to slowing aging. Elamipretide (Elam, a.k.a. SS-31) is a peptide known to target mitochondria and suppress mammalian signs of aging. The present study was designed to examine the phenotypic effects of long-term Elam treatment on aging in C57BL/6 mice starting at 18 months of age. Mice were fed regular chow (RC diet) or a diet high in fat and sugar (HF diet) and treated with 3 mg/kg of Elam or saline subcutaneously 5 days per week for 10 months. Physiological performance assessments were conducted at 28 months of age. Elam improved the physical performance of males but not females, while in females Elam improved cognitive performance and enhanced the maintenance of body weight and fat mass. It also improved diastolic function in both males and females, but to a greater extent in males. The HF diet over 10 months had a negative effect on health span, as it increased body fat and decreased muscle strength and heart function, especially in females. In conclusion, Elam enhanced healthy aging and cardiac function in both male and female mice, although the specific effects on function differed between sexes. In females, the treatment led to better cognitive performance and maintenance of body composition, while in males, performance on a rotating rod was preserved. These overall observations have translational implications for considering additional studies using Elam in therapeutic or preventive approaches for aging and age-related diseases.
Keywords: Aging, mitochondria, elamipretide, C57BL/6 mice, high fat and sugar diet