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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2017 Oct;70:154-163. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2017.07.006. Epub 2017 Jul 8.

Slow aging in mammals-Lessons from African mole-rats and bats.

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Central Animal Laboratory, Faculty of Medicine, University of Duisburg, Essen, Germany. Electronic address:


Traditionally, the main mammalian models used in aging research have been mice and rats, i.e. short-lived species that obviously lack effective maintenance mechanisms to keep their soma in a functional state for prolonged periods of time. It is doubtful that life-extending mechanisms identified only in such short-lived species adequately reflect the diversity of longevity pathways that have naturally evolved in mammals, or that they have much relevance for long-lived species such as humans. Therefore, some complementary, long-lived mammalian models have been introduced to aging research in the past 15-20 years, particularly naked mole-rats (and to a lesser extent also other mole-rats) and bats. Here, I summarize and compare the most important results regarding various aspects of aging - oxidative stress, molecular homeostasis and repair, and endocrinology - that have been obtained from studies using these new mammalian models of high longevity. I argue that the inclusion of these models was an important step forward, because it drew researchers' attention to certain oversimplifications of existing aging theories and to several features that appear to be universal components of enhanced longevity in mammals. However, even among mammals with high longevity, considerable variation exists with respect to other candidate mechanisms that also must be taken into account if inadequate generalizations are to be avoided.


Aging; Autophagy; Bathyergidae; Bats; Chiroptera; Hormones; Mole-rats; Molecular homeostasis; Oxidative stress; Proteasome; Senescence

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