Saturday, March 7, 2009

Naked Mole Rats May Hold Clues To Successful Aging

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

From Science Daily:

ScienceDaily (Mar. 6, 2009) — 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.

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.

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