A novel endogenous indole protects rodent mitochondria and extends rotifer lifespan

Burkhard Poeggeler, Kumar Sambamurti, Sandra L. Siedlak, George Perry, Mark A. Smith, Miguel A. Pappolla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Aging is a multi-factorial process, however, it is generally accepted that reactive oxygen species (ROS) are significant contributors. Mitochondria are important players in the aging process because they produce most of the cellular ROS. Despite the strength of the free-radical hypothesis, the use of free radical scavengers to delay aging has generated mixed results in vertebrate models, and clinical evidence of efficacy is lacking. This is in part due to the production of pro-oxidant metabolites by many antioxidants while scavenging ROS, which counteract their potentially beneficial effects. As such, a more effective approach is to enhance mitochondrial metabolism by reducing electron leakage with attendant reduction of ROS generation. Here, we report on the actions of a novel endogenous indole derivative, indolepropionamide (IPAM), which is similar in structure to melatonin. Our results suggest that IPAM binds to the rate-limiting component of oxidative phosphorylation in complex I of the respiratory chain and acts as a stabilizer of energy metabolism, thereby reducing ROS production. IPAM reversed the age-dependent decline of mitochondrial energetic capacity and increased rotifer lifespan, and it may, in fact, constitute a novel endogenous anti-aging substance of physiological importance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere10206
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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