The naked mole-rat: A new long-living model for human aging research

Rochelle Buffenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

335 Scopus citations


Tremendous variation in maximum life span among species overshadows modest increases in longevity resulting from experimental manipulation. Few aging studies focus on long-lived mammals even though these species may expose mechanisms involved in resisting aging. Naked mole-rats (NMRs ∼35 grams) are the longest-living (>28.3 years) rodents known. This review describes their biology and potential use in aging research. Lifestyle features concur with most evolutionary theories with the exception of the disposable soma theory. Indeed, maximum life span is similar in breeders and nonbreeders, and these highly fecund animals reproduce until they die. Shared characteristics with calorie-restricted, methionine-restricted, and dwarf mice models of extended longevity include reduced body temperature; reduced thyroid, and blood glucose concentrations; and low glycated hemoglobin; in addition to reduced incidence of cancer. Young naked mole-rats surprisingly have high levels of accrued oxidative damage. With their similar longevity quotient to humans, these rodents may provide a novel opportunity to examine mechanisms modulating aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1369-1377
Number of pages9
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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