Resveratrol and Metformin Protect Neuromuscular Function

Insect neuromuscular junction. Credit: NICHD NIH

Resveratrol and metformin may both imitate the neuroprotective effects of a low calorie diet and exercise

Prior research has demonstrated that calorie intake and physical activity can protect the synapses at neuromuscular junctions - improving mobility and fitness. Now research is examining whether established 'longevity' compounds could mimic some of these effects. 

"We all slow down as we get older. Gait, balance issues, and impaired motor coordination contribute to health problems, accidents, lack of mobility, and a lower quality of life. We work on identifying molecular changes that slow down motor deficits that occur with aging. I believe that we are getting closer to tapping into mechanisms to slow age-induced degeneration of neuronal circuits"

By closely monitoring 2 year old mice, the researchers found that resveratrol was able to shield neuromuscular junctions from damage as the mice aged. Metformin didn't show any particular benefits to these synapses, but it did delay muscle fibre aging - suggesting the two may act synergistically to protect muscle function and innervation. Metformin is already FDA approved and undergoing research for its longevity modulating effects. Resveratrol is known to have poor bioavailability and is relatively expensive, but further research may reveal optimised molecules that target the same pathways. 

"These studies are in mice and I would caution anyone from blasting their bodies with resveratrol in any form. The next step is to identify the mechanism that enables resveratrol to protect synapses. If we know the mechanism, we can modify resveratrol or look for other molecules that are more effective at protecting the synapses"

Read more at Science Daily