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Adaptations to a subterranean environment and longevity revealed by the analysis of mole rat genomes.
Cell Rep
PUBLISHED: 08-28-2014
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Subterranean mammals spend their lives in dark, unventilated environments that are rich in carbon dioxide and ammonia and low in oxygen. Many of these animals are also long-lived and exhibit reduced aging-associated diseases, such as neurodegenerative disorders and cancer. We sequenced the genome of the Damaraland mole rat (DMR, Fukomys damarensis) and improved the genome assembly of the naked mole rat (NMR, Heterocephalus glaber). Comparative genome analyses, along with the transcriptomes of related subterranean rodents, revealed candidate molecular adaptations for subterranean life and longevity, including a divergent insulin peptide, expression of oxygen-carrying globins in the brain, prevention of high CO2-induced pain perception, and enhanced ammonia detoxification. Juxtaposition of the genomes of DMR and other more conventional animals with the genome of NMR revealed several truly exceptional NMR features: unusual thermogenesis, an aberrant melatonin system, pain insensitivity, and unique processing of 28S rRNA. Together, these genomes and transcriptomes extend our understanding of subterranean adaptations, stress resistance, and longevity.
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And the beat goes on: maintained cardiovascular function during aging in the longest-lived rodent, the naked mole-rat.
Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 06-06-2014
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The naked mole-rat (NMR) is the longest-lived rodent known, with a maximum lifespan potential (MLSP) of >31 years. Despite such extreme longevity, these animals display attenuation of many age-associated diseases and functional changes until the last quartile of their MLSP. We questioned if such abilities would extend to cardiovascular function and structure in this species. To test this, we assessed cardiac functional reserve, ventricular morphology, and arterial stiffening in NMRs ranging from 2 to 24 years of age. Dobutamine echocardiography (3 ?g/g ip) revealed no age-associated changes in left ventricular (LV) function either at baseline or with exercise-like stress. Baseline and dobutamine-induced LV pressure parameters also did not change. Thus the NMR, unlike other mammals, maintains cardiac reserve with age. NMRs showed no cardiac hypertrophy, evidenced by no increase in cardiomyocyte cross-sectional area or LV dimensions with age. Age-associated arterial stiffening does not occur since there are no changes in aortic blood pressures or pulse-wave velocity. Only LV interstitial collagen deposition increased 2.5-fold from young to old NMRs (P < 0.01). However, its effect on LV diastolic function is likely minor since NMRs experience attenuated age-related increases in diastolic dysfunction in comparison with other species. Overall, these findings conform to the negligible senescence phenotype, as NMRs largely stave off cardiovascular changes for at least 75% of their MLSP. This suggests that using a comparative strategy to find factors that change with age in other mammals but not NMRs could provide novel targets to slow or prevent cardiovascular aging in humans.
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A cytosolic protein factor from the naked mole-rat activates proteasomes of other species and protects these from inhibition.
Biochim. Biophys. Acta
PUBLISHED: 04-28-2014
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The naked mole-rat maintains robust proteostasis and high levels of proteasome-mediated proteolysis for most of its exceptional (~31years) life span. Here, we report that the highly active proteasome from the naked mole-rat liver resists attenuation by a diverse suite of proteasome-specific small molecule inhibitors. Moreover, mouse, human, and yeast proteasomes exposed to the proteasome-depleted, naked mole-rat cytosolic fractions, recapitulate the observed inhibition resistance, and mammalian proteasomes also show increased activity. Gel filtration coupled with mass spectrometry and atomic force microscopy indicates that these traits are supported by a protein factor that resides in the cytosol. This factor interacts with the proteasome and modulates its activity. Although Heat shock protein 72 kDa (HSP72) and Heat shock protein 40 kDa (Homolog of bacterial DNAJ1) (HSP40(Hdj1)) are among the constituents of this factor, the observed phenomenon, such as increasing peptidase activity and protecting against inhibition cannot be reconciled with any known chaperone functions. This novel function may contribute to the exceptional protein homeostasis in the naked mole-rat and allow it to successfully defy aging.
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Mammalian target of rapamycin hyperactivity mediates the detrimental effects of a high sucrose diet on Alzheimer's disease pathology.
Neurobiol. Aging
PUBLISHED: 01-14-2014
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High sugar consumption and diabetes increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (AD) by unknown mechanisms. Using an animal model of AD, here we show that high sucrose intake induces obesity with changes in central and peripheral insulin signaling. These pre-diabetic changes are associated with an increase in amyloid-? production and deposition. Moreover, high sucrose ingestion exacerbates tau phosphorylation by increasing Cdk5 activity. Mechanistically, the sucrose-mediated increase in AD-like pathology results from hyperactive mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a key nutrient sensor important in regulating energy homeostasis. Specifically, we show that rapamycin, an mTOR inhibitor, prevents the detrimental effects of sucrose in the brain without altering changes in peripheral insulin resistance. Overall, our data suggest that high sucrose intake and dysregulated insulin signaling, which are known to contribute to the occurrence of diabetes, increase the risk of developing AD by upregulating brain mTOR signaling. Therefore, early interventions to modulate mTOR activity in individuals at high risk of developing diabetes may decrease their AD susceptibility.
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The first international mini-symposium on methionine restriction and lifespan.
Front Genet
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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It has been 20 years since the Orentreich Foundation for the Advancement of Science, under the leadership Dr. Norman Orentreich, first reported that low methionine (Met) ingestion by rats extends lifespan (Orentreich et al., 1993). Since then, several studies have replicated the effects of dietary methionine restricted (MR) in delaying age-related diseases (Richie et al., 1994; Miller et al., 2005; Ables et al., 2012; Sanchez-Roman and Barja, 2013). We report the abstracts from the First International Mini-Symposium on Methionine Restriction and Lifespan held in Tarrytown, NY, September 2013. The goals were (1) to gather researchers with an interest in MR and lifespan, (2) to exchange knowledge, (3) to generate ideas for future investigations, and (4) to strengthen relationships within this community. The presentations highlighted the importance of research on cysteine, growth hormone (GH), and ATF4 in the paradigm of aging. In addition, the effects of dietary restriction or MR in the kidneys, liver, bones, and the adipose tissue were discussed. The symposium also emphasized the value of other species, e.g., the naked mole rat, Brandt's bat, and Drosophila, in aging research. Overall, the symposium consolidated scientists with similar research interests and provided opportunities to conduct future collaborative studies (Figure 3).
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Cardiac Function of the Naked Mole-rat: Ecophysiological Responses to Working Underground.
Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 12-20-2013
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The naked mole-rat (NMR) is a strictly subterranean rodent with a low resting metabolic rate. Nevertheless, it can greatly increase its metabolic activity to meet the high energetic demands associated with digging through compacted soils in its xeric natural habitat where food is patchily distributed. We hypothesized that the NMR heart would naturally have low basal function and exhibit a large cardiac reserve, thereby mirroring the species low basal metabolism and large metabolic scope. Echocardiography showed that young (2-4 year old) healthy NMRs have low fractional shortening (28 ± 2%), ejection fraction (43 ± 2%), and cardiac output (6.5 ± 0.4 ml/min), indicating low basal cardiac function. Histology revealed large NMR cardiomyocyte cross-sectional area (216 ± 10 ?m(2)) and cardiac collagen deposition of 2.2 ± 0.4%. Neither of these histomorphometric traits was considered pathological, as biaxial tensile testing showed no increase in passive ventricular stiffness. NMR cardiomyocyte fibers showed a low degree of rotation, contributing to the observed low NMR cardiac contractility. Interestingly, when the exercise mimetic dobutamine (3 ?g/g i.p.) was administered, NMRs showed pronounced increases in fractional shortening, ejection fraction, cardiac output, and stroke volume, indicating an increased cardiac reserve. The relatively low basal cardiac function and enhanced cardiac reserve of NMRs are likely to be ecophysiological adaptations to life in an energetically-taxing environment.
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Oxidative damage and amyloid-? metabolism in brain regions of the longest-lived rodents.
J. Neurosci. Res.
PUBLISHED: 05-31-2013
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Naked mole rats (NMRs) are the longest-lived rodents, with young individuals having high levels of A? in their brains. The purpose of this study was twofold: to assess the distribution of A? in key regions of NMR brains (cortex, hippocampus, cerebellum) and to understand whether the accumulation of A? is due to enhanced production or decreased degradation. Recent evidence indicates that lipid peroxides directly participate in induction of cytoprotective proteins, such as heat shock proteins (Hsps), which play a central role in the cellular mechanisms of stress tolerance. Amyloid precursor protein processing, lipid peroxidation, Hsps, redox status, and protein degradation processes were therefore assessed in key NMR brain regions. NMR brains had high levels of lipid peroxidation compared with mice, and the NMR hippocampus had the highest levels of the most toxic moiety of A? (soluble A?1 - 42 ). This was due not to increased A? production but rather to low antioxidant potential, which was associated with low induction of Hsp70 and heme oxygenase-1 as well as low ubiquitin-proteasome activity. NMRs may therefore serve as natural models for understanding the relationship between oxidative stress and A? levels and its effects on the brain. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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Elevated protein carbonylation and oxidative stress do not affect protein structure and function in the long-living naked-mole rat: a proteomic approach.
Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun.
PUBLISHED: 04-07-2013
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The oxidative stress theory of aging predicts that aging is primarily regulated by progressive accumulation of oxidized macromolecules that cause deleterious effects to cellular homeostasis and induces a decline in physiological function. However, our reports on the detection of higher level of oxidized protein carbonyls in the soluble cellular fractions of long-living rodent naked-mole rats (NMRs, lifespan ~30yrs) compared to short-lived mice (lifespan ~3.5yrs) apparently contradicts a key tenet of the oxidative theory. As oxidation often inactivates enzyme function and induces higher-order soluble oligomers, we performed a comprehensive study to measure global protein carbonyl level in different tissues of age-matched NMRs and mice to determine if the traditional concept of oxidation mediated impairment of function and induction of higher-order structures of proteins are upheld in the NMRs. We made three intriguing observations with NMRs proteins: (1) protein carbonyl is significantly elevated across different tissues despite of its exceptional longevity, (2) enzyme function is restored despite of experiencing higher level of protein carbonylation, and (3) enzymes show lesser sensitivity to form higher-order non-reducible oligomers compared to short-living mouse proteins in response to oxidative stress. These observations were made based on the global analysis of protein carbonyl and identification of two heavily carbonylated proteins in the kidney, triosephosphate isomerase (TPI) and cytosolic peroxiredoxin (Prdx1). These un-expected intriguing observations thus strongly suggest that oxidative modification may not be the only criteria for impairment of protein and enzyme function; cellular environment is likely be the critical determining factor in this process and may be the underlying mechanism for exceptional longevity of NMR.
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Amyloid beta and the longest-lived rodent: the naked mole-rat as a model for natural protection from Alzheimers disease.
Neurobiol. Aging
PUBLISHED: 03-14-2013
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Amyloid beta (A?) is implicated in Alzheimers disease (AD) as an integral component of both neural toxicity and plaque formation. Brains of the longest-lived rodents, naked mole-rats (NMRs) approximately 32 years of age, had levels of A? similar to those of the 3xTg-AD mouse model of AD. Interestingly, there was no evidence of extracellular plaques, nor was there an age-related increase in A? levels in the individuals examined (2-20+ years). The NMR A? peptide showed greater homology to the human sequence than to the mouse sequence, differing by only 1 amino acid from the former. This subtle difference led to interspecies differences in aggregation propensity but not neurotoxicity; NMR A? was less prone to aggregation than human A?. Nevertheless, both NMR and human A? were equally toxic to mouse hippocampal neurons, suggesting that A? neurotoxicity and aggregation properties were not coupled. Understanding how NMRs acquire and tolerate high levels of A? with no plaque formation could provide useful insights into AD, and may elucidate protective mechanisms that delay AD progression.
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Reduced mitochondrial ROS, enhanced antioxidant defense, and distinct age-related changes in oxidative damage in muscles of long-lived Peromyscus leucopus.
Am. J. Physiol. Regul. Integr. Comp. Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 01-16-2013
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Comparing biological processes in closely related species with divergent life spans is a powerful approach to study mechanisms of aging. The oxidative stress hypothesis of aging predicts that longer-lived species would have lower reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and/or an increased antioxidant capacity, resulting in reduced oxidative damage with age than in shorter-lived species. In this study, we measured ROS generation in the young adult animals of the long-lived white-footed mouse, Peromyscus leucopus (maximal life span potential, MLSP = 8 yr) and the common laboratory mouse, Mus musculus (C57BL/6J strain; MLSP = 3.5 yr). Consistent with the hypothesis, our results show that skeletal muscle mitochondria from adult P. leucopus produce less ROS (superoxide and hydrogen peroxide) compared with M. musculus. Additionally, P. leucopus has an increase in the activity of antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase 1, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase 1 at young age. P. leucopus compared with M. musculus display low levels of lipid peroxidation (isoprostanes) throughout life; however, P. leucopus although having elevated protein carbonyls at a young age, the accrual of protein oxidation with age is minimal in contrast to the linear increase in M. musculus. Altogether, the results from young animals are in agreement with the predictions of the oxidative stress hypothesis of aging with the exception of protein carbonyls. Nonetheless, the age-dependent increase in protein carbonyls is more pronounced in short-lived M. musculus, which supports enhanced protein homeostasis in long-lived P. leucopus.
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Elevated protein carbonylation, and misfolding in sciatic nerve from db/db and Sod1(-/-) mice: plausible link between oxidative stress and demyelination.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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Diabetic peripheral polyneuropathy is associated with decrements in motor/sensory neuron myelination, nerve conduction and muscle function; however, the mechanisms of reduced myelination in diabetes are poorly understood. Chronic elevation of oxidative stress may be one of the potential determinants for demyelination as lipids and proteins are important structural constituents of myelin and highly susceptible to oxidation. The goal of the current study was to determine whether there is a link between protein oxidation/misfolding and demyelination. We chose two distinct models to test our hypothesis: 1) the leptin receptor deficient mouse (dbdb) model of diabetic polyneuropathy and 2) superoxide dismutase 1 knockout (Sod1(-/-) ) mouse model of in vivo oxidative stress. Both experimental models displayed a significant decrement in nerve conduction, increase in tail distal motor latency as well as reduced myelin thickness and fiber/axon diameter. Further biochemical studies demonstrated that oxidative stress is likely to be a potential key player in the demyelination process as both models exhibited significant elevation in protein carbonylation and alterations in protein conformation. Since peripheral myelin protein 22 (PMP22) is a key component of myelin sheath and has been found mutated and aggregated in several peripheral neuropathies, we predicted that an increase in carbonylation and aggregation of PMP22 may be associated with demyelination in dbdb mice. Indeed, PMP22 was found to be carbonylated and aggregated in sciatic nerves of dbdb mice. Sequence-driven hydropathy plot analysis and in vitro oxidation-induced aggregation of purified PMP22 protein supported the premise for oxidation-dependent aggregation of PMP22 in dbdb mice. Collectively, these data strongly suggest for the first time that oxidation-mediated protein misfolding and aggregation of key myelin proteins may be linked to demyelination and reduced nerve conduction in peripheral neuropathies.
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Sustained high levels of neuregulin-1 in the longest-lived rodents; a key determinant of rodent longevity.
Aging Cell
PUBLISHED: 12-29-2011
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Naked mole-rats (Heterocephalus glaber), the longest-lived rodents, live 7-10 times longer than similarly sized mice and exhibit normal activities for approximately 75% of their lives. Little is known about the mechanisms that allow them to delay the aging process and live so long. Neuregulin-1 (NRG-1) signaling is critical for normal brain function during both development and adulthood. We hypothesized that long-lived species will maintain higher levels of NRG-1 and that this contributes to their sustained brain function and concomitant maintenance of normal activity. We monitored the levels of NRG-1 and its receptor ErbB4 in H. glaber at different ages ranging from 1 day to 26 years and found that levels of NRG-1 and ErbB4 were sustained throughout development and adulthood. In addition, we compared seven rodent species with widely divergent (4-32 year) maximum lifespan potential (MLSP) and found that at a physiologically equivalent age, the longer-lived rodents had higher levels of NRG-1 and ErbB4. Moreover, phylogenetic independent contrast analyses revealed that this significant strong correlation between MLSP and NRG-1 levels was independent of phylogeny. These results suggest that NRG-1 is an important factor contributing to divergent species MLSP through its role in maintaining neuronal integrity.
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RNA sequencing reveals differential expression of mitochondrial and oxidation reduction genes in the long-lived naked mole-rat when compared to mice.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 07-29-2011
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The naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber) is a long-lived, cancer resistant rodent and there is a great interest in identifying the adaptations responsible for these and other of its unique traits. We employed RNA sequencing to compare liver gene expression profiles between naked mole-rats and wild-derived mice. Our results indicate that genes associated with oxidoreduction and mitochondria were expressed at higher relative levels in naked mole-rats. The largest effect is nearly 300-fold higher expression of epithelial cell adhesion molecule (Epcam), a tumour-associated protein. Also of interest are the protease inhibitor, alpha2-macroglobulin (A2m), and the mitochondrial complex II subunit Sdhc, both ageing-related genes found strongly over-expressed in the naked mole-rat. These results hint at possible candidates for specifying species differences in ageing and cancer, and in particular suggest complex alterations in mitochondrial and oxidation reduction pathways in the naked mole-rat. Our differential gene expression analysis obviated the need for a reference naked mole-rat genome by employing a combination of Illumina/Solexa and 454 platforms for transcriptome sequencing and assembling transcriptome contigs of the non-sequenced species. Overall, our work provides new research foci and methods for studying the naked mole-rats fascinating characteristics.
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Genome sequencing reveals insights into physiology and longevity of the naked mole rat.
Nature
PUBLISHED: 06-14-2011
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The naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber) is a strictly subterranean, extraordinarily long-lived eusocial mammal. Although it is the size of a mouse, its maximum lifespan exceeds 30 years, making this animal the longest-living rodent. Naked mole rats show negligible senescence, no age-related increase in mortality, and high fecundity until death. In addition to delayed ageing, they are resistant to both spontaneous cancer and experimentally induced tumorigenesis. Naked mole rats pose a challenge to the theories that link ageing, cancer and redox homeostasis. Although characterized by significant oxidative stress, the naked mole rat proteome does not show age-related susceptibility to oxidative damage or increased ubiquitination. Naked mole rats naturally reside in large colonies with a single breeding female, the queen, who suppresses the sexual maturity of her subordinates. They also live in full darkness, at low oxygen and high carbon dioxide concentrations, and are unable to sustain thermogenesis nor feel certain types of pain. Here we report the sequencing and analysis of the naked mole rat genome, which reveals unique genome features and molecular adaptations consistent with cancer resistance, poikilothermy, hairlessness and insensitivity to low oxygen, and altered visual function, circadian rythms and taste sensing. This information provides insights into the naked mole rats exceptional longevity and ability to live in hostile conditions, in the dark and at low oxygen. The extreme traits of the naked mole rat, together with the reported genome and transcriptome information, offer opportunities for understanding ageing and advancing other areas of biological and biomedical research.
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Walking the oxidative stress tightrope: a perspective from the naked mole-rat, the longest-living rodent.
Curr. Pharm. Des.
PUBLISHED: 05-12-2011
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Reactive oxygen species (ROS), by-products of aerobic metabolism, cause oxidative damage to cells and tissue and not surprisingly many theories have arisen to link ROS-induced oxidative stress to aging and health. While studies clearly link ROS to a plethora of divergent diseases, their role in aging is still debatable. Genetic knock-down manipulations of antioxidants alter the levels of accrued oxidative damage, however, the resultant effect of increased oxidative stress on lifespan are equivocal. Similarly the impact of elevating antioxidant levels through transgenic manipulations yield inconsistent effects on longevity. Furthermore, comparative data from a wide range of endotherms with disparate longevity remain inconclusive. Many long-living species such as birds, bats and mole-rats exhibit high-levels of oxidative damage, evident already at young ages. Clearly, neither the amount of ROS per se nor the sensitivity in neutralizing ROS are as important as whether or not the accrued oxidative stress leads to oxidative-damage-linked age-associated diseases. In this review we examine the literature on ROS, its relation to disease and the lessons gleaned from a comparative approach based upon species with widely divergent responses. We specifically focus on the longest lived rodent, the naked mole-rat, which maintains good health and provides novel insights into the paradox of maintaining both an extended healthspan and lifespan despite high oxidative stress from a young age.
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Attenuation of liver insoluble protein carbonyls: indicator of a longevity determinant?
Aging Cell
PUBLISHED: 05-06-2011
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Oxidative damage affects protein structure and function. Progressive accumulation of oxidized proteins is considered a putative mechanism of aging; however, empirical evidence supporting their role in aging is inconsistent. This inconsistency may reflect a failure to distinguish damage to particular cellular compartments. We found a significant reduction of protein carbonyls in the insoluble, but not in the soluble, fraction of liver tissues of long-lived compared with their short-lived counterpart. Of cellular components analyzed, only nuclear protein carbonyl level was uniformly reduced in long-lived compared with short-lived animals. This observation suggests that attenuated accumulation of protein carbonyls in the nucleus, where they can affect multiple aspects of gene expression and DNA repair, might contribute to the longevity in mammalian species.
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Successful aging and sustained good health in the naked mole rat: a long-lived mammalian model for biogerontology and biomedical research.
ILAR J
PUBLISHED: 03-18-2011
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Naked mole rats (NMRs; Heterocephalus glaber) are the longest-living rodents known, with a maximum lifespan of 30 years--5 times longer than expected on the basis of body size. These highly social mouse-sized rodents, naturally found in subterranean burrows in the arid and semiarid regions of the horn of Africa, are commonly used in behavioral, neurological, and ecophysiological research. Very old NMRs (>28 years), like humans, show signs of age-associated pathologies (e.g., muscle loss) as well as the accumulation of lipofuscin pigments, but no signs of tumorigenesis. Indeed, for at least 80% of their lives NMRs maintain normal activity, body composition, and reproductive and physiological functions with no obvious age-related increases in morbidity or mortality rate. Their long lifespan is attributed to sustained good health and pronounced cancer resistance. Clearly physiological and biochemical processes in this species have evolved to dramatically extend both their good health- and lifespan. We and others have tested various current theories using this species as an exceptionally long-lived animal model of successful abrogated aging. Surprisingly, NMRs have high levels of oxidative stress and relatively short telomeres, yet they are extremely resilient when subjected to cellular stressors and appear capable of sustaining both their genomic and protein integrity under hostile conditions. The challenge is to understand how these animals are able to do this. Elucidating these mechanisms will provide useful information for enhancing human life- and healthspan, making the naked mole rat a true "supermodel" for aging research and resistance to chronic age-associated diseases.
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Endocrine function and neurobiology of the longest-living rodent, the naked mole-rat.
Exp. Gerontol.
PUBLISHED: 07-09-2010
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Animals that have evolved exceptional capabilities, such as extraordinary longevity may reveal pertinent and potentially critical insights into biomedical research that are not readily apparent in standard laboratory animals. Naked mole-rats (Heterocephalus glaber; NMRs) are extremely long-lived (30 years) mouse-sized rodents. They clearly have evolved superior anti-aging mechanisms as evident by the markedly attenuated age-related decline in physiological function, sustained reproductive capacity and pronounced cancer resistance throughout their long-lives. These eusocial rodents, like the social insects, live in colonies with breeding restricted to one female and a few males. Subordinates are sexually monomorphic, yet retain the ability to become breeders, and can undergo growth surges and neural modifications at any time throughout their life. This plasticity in physiological and behavioral aspects may have contributed to their long-lives. Naked mole-rats show numerous adaptations to life underground including extreme tolerance of hypoxia, acid insensitivity, as well as independence of photoendocrine systems. Here we review what is known about their unique social structure, sensory systems, endocrinology and neurobiology, and highlight areas that may be pertinent to biogerontology.
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Comparative studies of oxidative stress and mitochondrial function in aging.
Integr. Comp. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 07-02-2010
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The oxidative stress theory and its correlate the mitochondrial theory of aging are among the most studied and widely accepted of all hypotheses of the mechanism of aging. To date, most of the supporting evidence for these theories has come from investigations using common model organisms such as Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila melanogaster, and laboratory rodents. However, comparative data from a wide range of endotherms provide equivocal support as to whether oxidative stress is merely a correlate, rather than a determinant, of species maximum lifespan. The great majority of studies in this area have been devoted to the relationship between reactive oxygen species and maximal longevity in young adult organisms, with little emphasis on mitochondrial respiratory efficiency, age-related alterations in mitochondrial physiology or oxidative damage. The advantage of studying a broader spectrum of species is the broad range of virtually every biological phenotype/trait, such as lifespan, body weight and metabolic rate. Here we summarize the results from a number of comparative studies in an effort to correlate oxidant production and oxidative damage among many species with their maximal lifespan and briefly discuss the pitfalls and limitations. Based on current information, it is not possible to accept or dispute the oxidative stress theory of aging, nor can we exclude the possibility that private mechanisms might offer an explanation for the longevity of exceptionally long-lived animal models. Thus, there is need for more thorough and controlled investigations with more unconventional animal models for a deeper understanding of the role of oxidative stress in longevity.
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Resistance to experimental tumorigenesis in cells of a long-lived mammal, the naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber).
Aging Cell
PUBLISHED: 06-09-2010
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The naked mole-rat (NMR, Heterocephalus glaber) is a long-lived mammal in which spontaneous cancer has not been observed. To investigate possible mechanisms for cancer resistance in this species, we studied the properties of skin fibroblasts from the NMR following transduction with oncogenes that cause cells of other mammalian species to form malignant tumors. Naked mole-rat fibroblasts were transduced with a retrovirus encoding SV40 large T antigen and oncogenic Ras(G12V). Following transplantation of transduced cells into immunodeficient mice, cells rapidly entered crisis, as evidenced by the presence of anaphase bridges, giant cells with enlarged nuclei, multinucleated cells, and cells with large number of chromosomes or abnormal chromatin material. In contrast, similarly transduced mouse and rat fibroblasts formed tumors that grew rapidly without crisis. Crisis was also observed after > 40 population doublings in SV40 TAg/Ras-expressing NMR cells in culture. Crisis in culture was prevented by additional infection of the cells with a retrovirus encoding hTERT (telomerase reverse transcriptase). SV40 TAg/Ras/hTERT-expressing NMR cells formed tumors that grew rapidly in immunodeficient mice without evidence of crisis. Crisis could also be induced in SV40 TAg/Ras-expressing NMR cells by loss of anchorage, but after hTERT transduction, cells were able to proliferate normally following loss of anchorage. Thus, rapid crisis is a response of oncogene-expressing NMR cells to growth in an in vivo environment, which requires anchorage independence, and hTERT permits cells to avoid crisis and to achieve malignant tumor growth. The unique reaction of NMR cells to oncogene expression may form part of the cancer resistance of this species.
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Nrf2, a guardian of healthspan and gatekeeper of species longevity.
Integr. Comp. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 05-06-2010
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Although aging is a ubiquitous process that prevails in all organisms, the mechanisms governing both the rate of decline in functionality and the age of onset remain elusive. A profound constitutively upregulated cytoprotective response is commonly observed in naturally long-lived species and experimental models of extensions to lifespan (e.g., genetically-altered and/or experimentally manipulated organisms), as indicated by enhanced resistance to stress and upregulated downstream components of the cytoprotective nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2)-signaling pathway. The transcription factor Nrf2 is constitutively expressed in all tissues, although levels may vary among organs, with the key detoxification organs (kidney and liver) exhibiting highest levels. Nrf2 may be further induced by cellular stressors including endogenous reactive-oxygen species or exogenous electrophiles. The Nrf2-signaling pathway mediates multiple avenues of cytoprotection by activating the transcription of more than 200 genes that are crucial in the metabolism of drugs and toxins, protection against oxidative stress and inflammation, as well as playing an integral role in stability of proteins and in the removal of damaged proteins via proteasomal degradation or autophagy. Nrf2 interacts with other important cell regulators such as tumor suppressor protein 53 (p53) and nuclear factor-kappa beta (NF-?B) and through their combined interactions is the guardian of healthspan, protecting against many age-related diseases including cancer and neurodegeneration. We hypothesize that this signaling pathway plays a critical role in the determination of species longevity and that this pathway may indeed be the master regulator of the aging process.
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Endocrine function in naturally long-living small mammals.
Mol. Cell. Endocrinol.
PUBLISHED: 04-03-2009
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The complex, highly integrative endocrine system regulates all aspects of somatic maintenance and reproduction and has been widely implicated as an important determinant of longevity in short-lived traditional model organisms of aging research. Genetic or experimental manipulation of hormone profiles in mice has been proven to definitively alter longevity. These hormonally induced lifespan extension mechanisms may not necessarily be relevant to humans and other long-lived organisms that naturally show successful slow aging. Long-lived species may have evolved novel anti-aging defenses germane to naturally retarding the aging process. Here, we examine the available endocrine data associated with the vitamin D, insulin, glucocorticoid and thyroid endocrine systems of naturally long-living small mammals. Generally, long-living rodents and bats maintain tightly regulated lower basal levels of these key pleiotropic hormones than shorter lived rodents. Similarities with genetically manipulated long-lived rodent models of aging suggest that evolutionary well-conserved hormonal mechanisms are integrally involved in lifespan determination.
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Protein stability and resistance to oxidative stress are determinants of longevity in the longest-living rodent, the naked mole-rat.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 02-17-2009
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The widely accepted oxidative stress theory of aging postulates that aging results from accumulation of oxidative damage. Surprisingly, data from the longest-living rodent known, naked mole-rats [MRs; mass 35 g; maximum lifespan (MLSP) > 28.3 years], when compared with mice (MLSP 3.5 years) exhibit higher levels of lipid peroxidation, protein carbonylation, and DNA oxidative damage even at a young age. We hypothesize that age-related changes in protein structural stability, oxidation, and degradation are abrogated over the lifespan of the MR. We performed a comprehensive study of oxidation states of protein cysteines [both reversible (sulfenic, disulfide) and indirectly irreversible (sulfinic/sulfonic acids)] in liver from young and old C57BL/6 mice (6 and 28 months) and MRs (2 and >24 years). Furthermore, we compared interspecific differences in urea-induced protein unfolding and ubiquitination and proteasomal activity. Compared with data from young mice, young MRs have 1.6 times as much free protein thiol groups and similar amounts of reversible oxidative damage to cysteine. In addition, they show less urea-induced protein unfolding, less protein ubiquitination, and higher proteasome activity. Mice show a significant age-related increase in cysteine oxidation and higher levels of ubiquitination. In contrast, none of these parameters were significantly altered over 2 decades in MRs. Clearly MRs have markedly attenuated age-related accrual of oxidation damage to thiol groups and age-associated up-regulation of homeostatic proteolytic activity. These pivotal mechanistic interspecies differences may contribute to the divergent aging profiles and strongly implicate maintenance of protein stability and integrity in successful aging.
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The naked mole-rat response to oxidative stress: just deal with it.
Antioxid. Redox Signal.
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The oxidative stress theory of aging has been the most widely accepted theory of aging providing insights into why we age and die for over 50 years, despite mounting evidence from a multitude of species indicating that there is no direct relationship between reactive oxygen species (ROS) and longevity. Here we explore how different species, including the longest lived rodent, the naked mole-rat, have defied the most predominant aging theory.
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Stress resistance in the naked mole-rat: the bare essentials - a mini-review.
Gerontology
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Studies comparing similar-sized species with disparate longevity may elucidate novel mechanisms that abrogate aging and prolong good health. We focus on the longest living rodent, the naked mole-rat. This mouse-sized mammal lives ~8 times longer than do mice and, despite high levels of oxidative damage evident at a young age, it is not only very resistant to spontaneous neoplasia but also shows minimal decline in age-associated physiological traits.
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Altered composition of liver proteasome assemblies contributes to enhanced proteasome activity in the exceptionally long-lived naked mole-rat.
PLoS ONE
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The longest-lived rodent, the naked mole-rat (Bathyergidae; Heterocephalus glaber), maintains robust health for at least 75% of its 32 year lifespan, suggesting that the decline in genomic integrity or protein homeostasis routinely observed during aging, is either attenuated or delayed in this extraordinarily long-lived species. The ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) plays an integral role in protein homeostasis by degrading oxidatively-damaged and misfolded proteins. In this study, we examined proteasome activity in naked mole-rats and mice in whole liver lysates as well as three subcellular fractions to probe the mechanisms behind the apparently enhanced effectiveness of UPS. We found that when compared with mouse samples, naked mole-rats had significantly higher chymotrypsin-like (ChT-L) activity and a two-fold increase in trypsin-like (T-L) in both whole lysates as well as cytosolic fractions. Native gel electrophoresis of the whole tissue lysates showed that the 20S proteasome was more active in the longer-lived species and that 26S proteasome was both more active and more populous. Western blot analyses revealed that both 19S subunits and immunoproteasome catalytic subunits are present in greater amounts in the naked mole-rat suggesting that the observed higher specific activity may be due to the greater proportion of immunoproteasomes in livers of healthy young adults. It thus appears that proteasomes in this species are primed for the efficient removal of stress-damaged proteins. Further characterization of the naked mole-rat proteasome and its regulation could lead to important insights on how the cells in these animals handle increased stress and protein damage to maintain a longer health in their tissues and ultimately a longer life.
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Getting to the heart of the matter: age-related changes in diastolic heart function in the longest-lived rodent, the naked mole rat.
J. Gerontol. A Biol. Sci. Med. Sci.
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The naked mole rat is an extremely long-lived (>31 years) small (35 g) rodent. Moreover, it maintains good health for most of its long life. We hypothesized that naked mole rats also show attenuated cardiac aging. With age, cardiac muscle can become less compliant, causing a decline in early diastolic filling (E) and a compensatory increase in atrial contraction-induced late filling (A). This results in decreased left ventricular E/A ratio. Doppler imaging showed no significant differences in E/A ratios (p = .48) among old (18-20 years) breeders and nonbreeders despite differences in estrogen levels. A cross-sectional study of 1- to 20-year-old naked mole rats (n = 76) revealed that E/A ratios declined with age in females (n = 40; p = .002) but not in males (n = 36; p = 0.45). Despite this, neither gender shows increased morbidity or mortality with age. These findings suggest that, notwithstanding the previously observed high lipid peroxidation in heart tissue, NMRs must possess mechanisms to stave off progression to fatal cardiac disease.
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Blunted neuronal calcium response to hypoxia in naked mole-rat hippocampus.
PLoS ONE
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Naked mole-rats are highly social and strictly subterranean rodents that live in large communal colonies in sealed and chronically oxygen-depleted burrows. Brain slices from naked mole-rats show extreme tolerance to hypoxia compared to slices from other mammals, as indicated by maintenance of synaptic transmission under more hypoxic conditions and three fold longer latency to anoxic depolarization. A key factor in determining whether or not the cellular response to hypoxia is reversible or leads to cell death may be the elevation of intracellular calcium concentration. In the present study, we used fluorescent imaging techniques to measure relative intracellular calcium changes in CA1 pyramidal cells of hippocampal slices during hypoxia. We found that calcium accumulation during hypoxia was significantly and substantially attenuated in slices from naked mole-rats compared to slices from laboratory mice. This was the case for both neonatal (postnatal day 6) and older (postnatal day 20) age groups. Furthermore, while both species demonstrated more calcium accumulation at older ages, the older naked mole-rats showed a smaller calcium accumulation response than even the younger mice. A blunted intracellular calcium response to hypoxia may contribute to the extreme hypoxia tolerance of naked mole-rat neurons. The results are discussed in terms of a general hypothesis that a very prolonged or arrested developmental process may allow adult naked mole-rat brain to retain the hypoxia tolerance normally only seen in neonatal mammals.
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What is Visualize?

JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.

How does it work?

We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.

Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...

In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.