Research Highlights

L-threonine promotes healthspan by expediting ferritin-dependent ferroptosis inhibition in C. elegans

Juewon Kim, Yunju Jo, Donghyun Cho, Dongryeol Ryu

Nature Communications
Professor Dongryeol Ryu`s research team at the SKKU School of Medicine`s Department of Molecular Cell Biology discovered the underpinning mechanism and essential ingredients mediating dietary restriction (DR)-induced longevity, together with the Amorepacific R&I center. The Ryu lab published this study on `L-threonine promotes healthspan by expediting ferritin-dependent ferroptosis inhibition in C. elegans` in Nature Communications (IF=17.7), an international renowned scientific journal, on November 2nd.
Rather than just extending lifetime, recent longevity research has focused on enhancing "healthy lifespan" or "healthspan," which improves the quality of life by maintaining a healthy condition for an extended period of time. Dietary restriction is widely recognized as the most effective approach to live a long and healthy life by optimizing energy consumption efficiency, but detailed study on the metabolites involved is limited.
Professor Ryu`s team analyzed metabolites that are commonly elevated across long-lived C. elegans stains. This metabolomics study identified L-threonine, an important amino acid, as a key mediator of longevity. Furthermore, this study demonstrated that its supplementation slows aging and extend healthy lifespan by around 15-20%. L-threonine, surprisingly, protected against age-related ferroptosis, an iron-dependent cell death that finally resulted in life extension.
"This discovery is a monumental achievement in uncovering a novel mechanism behind DR-induced longevity," said Professor Dongryeol Ryu, "but more research on how L-threonine affects ferroptosis is still needed, which might provide us a chance to have a relatively simple solution for healthy aging that we all of humankind are looking for."