Investigating the Mole Rat

From Chemistry World, a look at naked mole rats, which "can live for up to 30 years, far longer than the 3 year average life span of a laboratory mouse. ... Traditionally, aging in mammals is attributed to oxidative damage of cells, caused by reaction with inhaled oxygen. ... levels of oxidative stress in young naked mole rats were actually higher than in mice - but that although naked mole rats have high levels of oxidative damage, these stay the same throughout their lifetime. ... In most animals you get an accumulation of oxidative damage with age, but with mole rats, young and old animals have the same protein profile. The mole rats have between two to ten times more oxidative damage in all tissues than mice, and yet they live another 26 years with this damage. ... The rats are able to maintain functionality because they effective mop up damaged proteins in cells. For example, Buffenstein found that, in mice, the liver enzyme GAPDH decreased in activity as the animals aged. However, in naked mole rats, the same enzyme maintained its activity over a 24 year life span. ... Oxidative damage is not the be all and end all of aging. It's rather tolerance to damage and finding ways to cope with those stresses without impacting on functionality that are more important."

Link: http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/News/2009/February/16020901.asp


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