Earlier we showed formulation-specific beneficial effects of dietary supplement of Ayurvedic Amalaki Rasayana (AR, a herbal formulation) and Rasa-Sindoor (RS, a mercury-based organo-metallic formulation) on various biological parameters in Drosophila, parallel to traditional Ayurvedic literature. These formulations also suppressed cell death and pathology in fly models of neurodegeneration. To understand basis of inhibition of apoptosis, we examined effects of AR and RS on induced and developmental apoptosis in Drosophila. Dietary AR or RS significantly reduced apoptosis induced by GMR-GAL4-, sev-GAL4- or hs-GAL4-directed expression of Rpr, Hid or Grim (RHG) pro-apoptotic proteins or by GMR-GAL4-directed DIAP1-RNAi, resulting in significant restoration of organism's viability and eye morphology. AR or RS supplement enhanced levels of inhibitor of apoptosis proteins, DIAP1 and DIAP2, and of Bancal/Hrb57A, while the levels of RHG proteins and of initiator Dronc and effecter Drice caspases were reduced in non-apoptotic wild type as well as in RHG over-expressing tissues. Levels of Dronc or Drice remained unaffected in cells developmentally destined to die so that developmental apoptosis occurred normally. Elevated levels of DIAPs and reduced levels of RHG proteins and caspases reflect a more robust physiological state of AR or RS fed organisms allowing them to tolerate greater insults without triggering the cell-death response. Such homeo-static effects of these Rasayanas seem to contribute to ‘healthy ageing’, one of their effects suggested in traditional Ayurvedic practices.
Volume 45, 2020
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