Sex differences in changes of protein synthesis with rapamycin treatment are minimized when metformin is added to rapamycin

Wolff, Christopher A., et al. “Sex Differences in Changes of Protein Synthesis with Rapamycin Treatment Are Minimized When Metformin Is Added to Rapamycin.” GeroScience, 2020, doi:10.1007/s11357-020-00243-8.


Loss of protein homeostasis is a hallmark of the aging process. We and others have previously shown that maintenance of proteostasis is a shared characteristic of slowed-aging models. Rapamycin (Rap) exerts sex-specific effects on murine lifespan, but the combination of Rap with the anti-hyperglycemic drug metformin (Rap + Met) equally increases male and female mouse median lifespan. In the current investigation, we compare the effects of short-term (8 weeks) Rap and Rap + Met treatments on bulk and individual protein synthesis in two key metabolic organs (the liver and skeletal muscle) of young genetically heterogeneous mice using deuterium oxide. We report for the first time distinct effects of Rap and Rap + Met treatments on bulk and individual protein synthesis in young mice. Although there were decreases in protein synthesis as assessed by bulk measurements, individual protein synthesis analyses demonstrate there were nearly as many proteins that increased synthesis as decreased synthesis rates. While we observed the established sex- and tissue-specific effects of Rap on protein synthesis, adding Met yielded more uniform effects between tissue and sex. These data offer mechanistic insight as to how Rap + Met may extend lifespan in both sexes while Rap does not.