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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2012 Apr;67(4):384-94. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glr222. Epub 2012 Feb 24.

Getting to the heart of the matter: age-related changes in diastolic heart function in the longest-lived rodent, the naked mole rat.

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Department of Physiology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78245, USA.


The naked mole rat is an extremely long-lived (>31 years) small (35 g) rodent. Moreover, it maintains good health for most of its long life. We hypothesized that naked mole rats also show attenuated cardiac aging. With age, cardiac muscle can become less compliant, causing a decline in early diastolic filling (E) and a compensatory increase in atrial contraction-induced late filling (A). This results in decreased left ventricular E/A ratio. Doppler imaging showed no significant differences in E/A ratios (p = .48) among old (18-20 years) breeders and nonbreeders despite differences in estrogen levels. A cross-sectional study of 1- to 20-year-old naked mole rats (n = 76) revealed that E/A ratios declined with age in females (n = 40; p = .002) but not in males (n = 36; p = 0.45). Despite this, neither gender shows increased morbidity or mortality with age. These findings suggest that, notwithstanding the previously observed high lipid peroxidation in heart tissue, NMRs must possess mechanisms to stave off progression to fatal cardiac disease.

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