VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (October 9, 2006) -- The long-lived naked mole-rat shows much higher levels of oxidative stress and damage and less robust repair mechanisms than the short-lived mouse, findings that could change the oxidative stress theory of aging.
The new study comparing the naked mole-rat, which has a life span of 28 years, and the mouse, which has a lifespan of three years, will be presented Oct. 8 at The American Physiological Society conference, Comparative Physiology 2006: Integrating Diversity. The results fly in the face of the oxidative stress theory of aging, which holds that damage caused by oxidative stress is a significant contributor to the aging process.
Under this theory, naked mole-rats should be better at preventing or repairing oxidative stress than their much shorter-lived cousin, the mouse. The study, "High oxidative damage levels in the longest-living rodent, the naked mole-rat," was done by Blazej Andziak and Rochelle Buffenstein, of The City College of New York, Timothy P. O'Connor, of Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and Asish P. Chaudhiri and Holly Van Remmen of the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio. The study was presented during a poster session on October 8.
Don't toss the oxidative stress theory of aging out the window just yet, but prepare to modify it, said Buffenstein, the senior author. Her team suspects that the naked mole-rat's longevity stems from its ability to defend against acute bouts of oxidative stress. That is, the kind of oxidation that happens because of an unusual occurrence rather than the kind that happens as a result of normal aerobic respiration.
For example, when hydrogen peroxide is added to a culture containing naked mole-rat fibroblast cells, they remain viable and appear to repair the acute damage more rapidly than shorter-lived animals, explained Buffenstein.
What is old age?