Prolonged longevity in naked mole-rats: Age-related changes in metabolism, body composition and gastrointestinal function

Timothy P. O'Connor, Angela Lee, Jennifer U.M. Jarvis, Rochelle Buffenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations

Abstract

Aging is characterized by declines in all physiological processes and concomitant changes in body composition. Age-related changes in metabolism, body composition and gastrointestinal function were investigated in naked mole-rats (Heterocephalus glaber), rodents that exhibit extended longevity. Maximum lifespan of these 40 g rodents (>27 year) is ∼9 times greater than predicted allometrically. We investigated changes in basal metabolic rate (BMR), body composition and intestinal glucose transport in 1, 5, 10 and 20-year-old male individuals. Body composition was measured using dual X-ray absorptiometry and activity of sodium glucose co-transporters (SGLT1) determined using everted gut sleeves. One-year-olds had lower body mass than other age cohorts, as they had not attained full adult form. Among the 5, 10, and 20-year-olds, no age-related changes in body mass, BMR, percentage body fat, fat-free mass or bone mineral density were found. SGLT1 activity declined moderately (<20%) from 5 to 20 years and was similar at 10-20 years, whereas age-related declines are 40-60% in mice. Although mole-rats have low metabolic rates, their prolonged longevity results in a lifetime energy expenditure more than 4 times that of mice. Since lifetime energy expenditure is an important index of potential exposure to oxidative damage, naked mole-rats may be valuable for studying mechanisms of aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)835-842
Number of pages8
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Volume133
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2002

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Body composition
  • Heterocephalus glaber
  • Lifetime energy expendituremetabolism
  • Naked mole-rats
  • SGLT1 activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology

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