Christian Thorup, MD

Aarhus University, Faculty of Health Sciences

Title of project

Spermidine treatment in elderly patients with coronary artery disease – a randomized controlled trial


Aim (Hypothesis): The overall aims are to investigate the cardiovascular, skeletal mus-cular, inflammatory, metabolic and cognitive effects of 2-year spermidine supplement intake in elderly with coronary artery disease. The main hypotheses are that a 2-year daily dietary spermidine supplement has beneficial effects on heart and skeletal mus-cle, cognitive function, and quality of life.

Background: Life expectancy has increased during the last century and cardiovascular disease has become more prevalent. Healthy aging is therefore of paramount im-portance to further promote longevity and quality of life. Spermidine is a polyamine which is found in all forms of life and are essential for cell growth and proliferation. High concentration of whole-blood spermidine is associated with longevity and indi-viduals with a high dietary intake of spermidine have improved cardiovascular health and less obesity. In Previous studies spermidine reduced cardiac hypertrophy and im-proved diastolic and mitochondrial function, it induced cytoprotective autophagy in skeletal muscle and alters body fat accumulation, and dietary spermidine intake corre-lated with better cognitive performance in humans.

Methods: We plan to perform a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with a 2-year follow-up to investigate the effects of a 25 mg daily spermidine dietary supplement vs. matching placebo in 220 elderly patients with cardiovascular disease. Endpoint procedures includes Cardiac MR, VO2 max test, echocardiography, blood pressure to investigate cardiovascular effects. Skeletal muscle biopsy, adipose tissue, skeletal muscle strength test and advanced muscle analyses to investigate skeletomus-cular effect. Blood work to investigate anti-inflammatory effects. Global Cognitive Composite Score to test cognitive function and a Quality of Life questionnaire.

Perspectives: Our study could lead to new therapeutic strategies to improve outcomes in elderly with cardiovascular disease, furthermore improve skeletal muscle and cogni-tive function and quality of life in the elderly. The intervention is low-priced and could have potential to improve public health and to be used in less affluent societies. If the trial yields a positive result, it will form the basis for further research in the field and recruitment of younger researchers.

Christian Thorup, MD

Cross-academy scholarship with co-funding from the Danish Cardiovascular Academy

Principal supervisor

Niels Jessen, Steno Diabetes Center Aarhus

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