Longevity Differences Within Mole-Rat Species

Long-lived naked mole-rats exhibit fairly large systematic differences in longevity within the species, and understanding the mechanisms may point the way to a class of therapies for aging: "African mole-rats (Bathyergidae, Rodentia) contain several social, cooperatively breeding species with low extrinsic mortality and unusually high longevity. All social bathyergids live in multigenerational families where reproduction is skewed towards a few breeding individuals. Most of their offspring remain as reproductively inactive 'helpers' in their natal families, often for several years. This 'reproductive subdivision' of mole-rat societies might be of interest for ageing research, as in at least one social bathyergid (Ansell's mole-rats Fukomys anselli), breeders have been shown to age significantly slower than non-breeders. These animals thus provide excellent conditions for studying the epigenetics of senescence by comparing divergent longevities within the same genotypes without the inescapable short-comings of inter-species comparisons. It has been claimed that many if not all social mole-rat species may have evolved similar ageing patterns, too. However, this remains unclear on account of the scarcity of reliable datasets on the subject. We therefore analyzed a 20-year breeding record of Giant mole-rats Fukomys mechowii, another social bathyergid species. We found that breeders indeed lived significantly longer than helpers (ca. 1.5 - 2.2fold depending on the sex), irrespective of social rank or other potentially confounding factors."

Link: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0018757


Is this related to the dramatic increase in life span of older mice who received young ovary transplants reported earlier in 'fightaging.org'?
"More on Ovaries and Longevity in Mice"
(Same effect was observed in Rottweilers)

It would be interesting to see whether transplanting young ovaries into the non-breeders gave them longevity comparable to breeders - or whether oestrogen and/or progesterone had any effect.

Posted by: Lou Pagnucco at May 4th, 2011 11:23 PM

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