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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2016 Apr;71(4):427-30. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glv080. Epub 2015 Aug 22.

Measures of Healthspan as Indices of Aging in Mice-A Recommendation.

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Department of Geriatric Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center. Oklahoma City VA Medical Center.
Department of Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham.
University of Aberdeen, UK. State Key Laboratory of Molecular Developmental Biology, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.
Translational Gerontology Branch, National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, Maryland.
College of Health Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington.
Department of Pathology, University of Washington, Seattle.
Section of Cardiovascular Research, Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.
Department of Pathology and Geriatrics Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Department of Ophthalmology, Department of Health Restoration, and Care Systems Management and Center for Biomedical Neuroscience, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Department of Computer Science, University of California Santa Cruz.
Nutritional Neuroscience and Aging Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge.
Department of Comparative Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle.
Department of Pathology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Biology of Aging Program, National Institute on Aging, Bethesda, Maryland.


Over the past decade, a large number of discoveries have shown that interventions (genetic, pharmacological, and nutritional) increase the lifespan of invertebrates and laboratory rodents. Therefore, the possibility of developing antiaging interventions for humans has gone from a dream to a reality. However, it has also become apparent that we need more information than just lifespan to evaluate the translational potential of any proposed antiaging intervention to humans. Information is needed on how an intervention alters the "healthspan" of an animal, that is, how the physiological functions that change with age are altered. In this report, we describe the utility and the limitations of assays in mice currently available for measuring a wide range of physiological functions that potentially impact quality of life. We encourage investigators and reviewers alike to expect at minimum an overall assessment of health in several domains across several ages before an intervention is labeled as "increasing healthspan." In addition, it is important that investigators indicate any tests in which the treated group did worse or did not differ statistically from controls because overall health is a complex phenotype, and no intervention discovered to date improves every aspect of health. Finally, we strongly recommend that functional measurements be performed in both males and females so that sex differences in the rate of functional decline in different domains are taken into consideration.


Age.; Healthspan; Lifespan; Physiological function

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