Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Naked Mole Rats May Hold Clues To Successful Aging

Date:
March 6, 2009
Source:
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Summary:
Naked mole rats resemble pink, wrinkly, saber-toothed sausages and would never win a beauty contest, even among other rodents. But these natives of East Africa are the champs for longevity among rodents, living nine times longer than similar-sized mice. Not only do they have an extraordinarily long lifespan, but they maintain good health for most of it and show remarkable resistance to cancer.

A naked mole rat in a toilet paper roll.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Naked mole rats resemble pink, wrinkly, saber-toothed sausages and would never win a beauty contest, even among other rodents. But these natives of East Africa are the champs for longevity among rodents, living nine times longer than similar-sized mice. Not only do they have an extraordinarily long lifespan, but they maintain good health for most of it and show remarkable resistance to cancer.

Related Articles


Researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio are studying mechanisms that enable the prolonged good health and slowed aging of naked mole rats in their large colony at the university’s Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies. In the March 3 print edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists report on another unusual feature of the animals — tissues of the naked mole rat are remarkably efficient at discarding damaged proteins and thereby maintaining stable, high-quality proteins.

“Naked mole rats don’t show the usual deterioration of aging, such as menopause or decline in brain function,” said paper co-author Rochelle Buffenstein, Ph.D., professor of physiology at the Barshop Institute and one of the world’s leading experts on aging in naked mole rats. “They demonstrate a healthy longevity that all of us would like to emulate.”

In most organisms, proteins are tagged for destruction, and a garbage disposer, called the “proteasome,” picks up the damaged ones and recycles their amino acids for new protein formation. The research team found very low levels of tagged proteins for destruction in naked mole rats, indicating they have better-quality protein as well as more efficient removal of damaged proteins. The result is the damaged ones do not accumulate and cause havoc in cells. “We now believe the level of protein damage in the naked mole rats is not as critical as their ability to dispose of the insults efficiently,” said the paper’s senior author, Asish Chaudhuri, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry at the Barshop Institute.

The scientists compared naked mole rat tissues to those of laboratory mice. The specimens from naked mole rats were far superior at handling stress-induced damaged proteins.

“It’s been suggested that damaged proteins clump into globs that are toxic to cells, and these globs are believed to be very important in age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Lou Gehrig’s diseases,” said the lead author, Viviana Perez, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow at the Barshop Institute. “Finding a way to emulate the naked mole rats’ ability to effectively dispense of damaged proteins might lead to drugs to treat these diseases one day.”

The researchers’ next step is to determine whether tissues of other animals that are long-lived, such as certain birds, also possess a similar ability to efficiently dispose of damaged proteins. Eventually, tissues from primates and even humans could be studied to test the universality of “this protein-disposing theory,” Dr. Chaudhuri said.

“Understanding how naked mole rats better control protein quality may yield important insights for how we as humans can sustain good health,” Dr. Buffenstein said. “We might also learn something about treating age-associated degenerative diseases. The naked mole rats clearly hold the clues to successful aging.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Perez et al. Protein stability and resistance to oxidative stress are determinants of longevity in the longest-living rodent, the naked mole-rat. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2009; 106 (9): 3059 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0809620106

Cite This Page:

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. "Naked Mole Rats May Hold Clues To Successful Aging." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090305171903.htm>.
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. (2009, March 6). Naked Mole Rats May Hold Clues To Successful Aging. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090305171903.htm
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. "Naked Mole Rats May Hold Clues To Successful Aging." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090305171903.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A wave of flu illnesses has forced some Ohio schools to shut down over the past week. State officials confirmed one pediatric flu-related death, a 15-year-old girl in southern Ohio. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins