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Exp Gerontol. 2001 Mar;36(3):441-63.

Antioxidant status and stress resistance in long- and short-lived lines of Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, University of Southern California, 1985 Zonal Avenue, 90089-9121, Los Angeles, CA, USA


The purpose of this study was to understand the nature of the biochemical and physiological variations between genetically different lines of Drosophila melanogaster. Selection for early or delayed reproduction has given rise to lines with substantial and heritable differences in longevity. The hypotheses tested were that either: (i) a compensatory slowing of metabolism, (ii) increased antioxidative enzyme activities, or (iii) elevated resistance to stressful conditions underlie these differences in longevity. The metabolic rate, metabolic potential (i.e. total amount of oxygen consumed during average lifespan) and speed of walking were all greater in long-lived than in short-lived flies, but there was no enhancement of antioxidant defenses. In fact, catalase activity was significantly lower in the long-lived flies. Long life was largely maintained under heat stress and starvation conditions, and was maintained to a lesser extent upon exposure to paraquat, a superoxide radical generator. In contrast, the 'short-lived' flies had a longer lifespan under cold stress and hyperoxia, also an inducer of radical generation. These results contradict the first two hypotheses and suggest that alleles underlying either long or short life are linked with enhanced resistance to specific kinds of stress, which may account for the preservation of these alleles in the parental population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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