The C. elegans worm is loved by scientists because its genome is similar to that of a human, but the life span of a creature is measured only in weeks. Thanks to this, it has become a convenient model organism on which various theories and new methods are tested. In particular, in the area of developing anti-aging products, which has recently undergone a breakthrough.
Researchers at Scripps Research set out to test how blocking certain enzymes would affect the metabolism of worms. They are known to have a kind of "aging axis", a multifactorial connection between the gut and the brain. And what the worm eats, how its body assimilates food, is directly related to the duration of its life.
Serine hydrolases are considered the main metabolic enzymes, so the researchers focused their attention on them. They took turns blocking more than a hundred compounds from this category and noted that in some cases, the life span of worms increased by only 15%, and in others - by 45% at once. The culprit turned out to be the carbamate compound JZL184.
This almost led scientists to a dead end, since worms do not have the MAGL enzyme, which inhibits JZL184, but mammals and humans themselves have it. But then they discovered an alternative to MAGL in the metabolism of C. elegans and everything fell into place. This means that if working with JZL184 can extend the life of worms by 45%, then one can hope that a similar method will be effective for humans. Research is ongoing.