Use of Nerve Conduction Velocity to Assess Peripheral Nerve Health in Aging Mice

Michael E. Walsh, Lauren B. Sloane, Kathleen E. Fischer, Steven N. Austad, Arlan Richardson, Holly Van Remmen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Nerve conduction velocity (NCV), the speed at which electrical signals propagate along peripheral nerves, is used in the clinic to evaluate nerve function in humans. A decline in peripheral nerve function is associated with a number of age-related pathologies. While several studies have shown that NCV declines with age in humans, there is little information on the effect of age on NCV in peripheral nerves in mice. In this study, we evaluated NCV in male and female C57Bl/6 mice ranging from 4 to 32 months of age. We observed a decline in NCV in both male and female mice after 20 months of age. Sex differences were detected in sensory NCV as well as the rate of decline during aging in motor nerves; female mice had slower sensory NCV and a slower age-related decline in motor nerves compared with male mice. We also tested the effect of dietary restriction on NCV in 30-month-old female mice. Dietary restriction prevented the age-related decline in sciatic NCV but not other nerves. Because NCV is clinically relevant to the assessment of nerve function, we recommend that NCV be used to evaluate healthspan in assessing genetic and pharmacological interventions that increase the life span of mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1312-1319
Number of pages8
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2015


  • Dietary restriction
  • Nerve conduction
  • Peripheral nerves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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