03 July 2012

Naked diggers have discovered another secret of their longevity

The key factor of longevity of naked diggers is found

Copper newsIn the brain of a naked digger (Heterocephalus glaber) – a furless rodent living underground with a number of unique properties – an unusually high level of the neuroprotector protein neuregulin-1 (NRG-1) remains throughout life.

It is with this circumstance, according to an international team of scientists who tried to find out why the life expectancy of H. glaber is ten or more times longer than that of other rodents, that the active and healthy longevity of this species is associated. Since the genome of the naked digger is 85 percent the same as the human one, the authors of the work published in the journal Aging Cell (Edrey et al., Sustained high levels of neuregulin-1 in the longest-lived rodents; a key determinant of rodent longevity – VM) expect that their discovery, as well as further research in this direction, they will help solve the problem of increasing the period of active and healthy human life, reports AFTAU.org (Naked Mole Rat May Hold the Secret to Long Life).

Professor Rochelle Buffenstein from the University of Texas and Dr. Yael Edrey from New York City College tracked the level of NRG-1 in the brains of naked diggers at different ages, starting from the first day of life and up to 26 years. They found out that throughout the life of H. glaber, a high concentration of NRG-1 protecting neurons from damage is maintained in the cerebellum, which is necessary for the normal functioning of the brain, while in other rodents this indicator decreases quite quickly.

Dr. Dorothee Huchon, an evolutionary biologist from Tel Aviv University, who participated in the study, conducted a comparative genetic analysis of seven rodent species, which confirmed that the correlation between life expectancy and the level of NRG-1 is unique for the naked digger.

"This discovery is a very important first step in understanding how NRG–1 is involved in the process that provides these creatures with such a long life, and whether it is possible to apply this knowledge to prolong human life," notes Dr. Khachon. "Further research in this direction should clarify exactly how NRG-1 protects neurons."

Naked diggers live in arid areas of East Africa. They differ in a number of physiological features – insensitivity to some forms of pain (thermal burns and chemical burns with acids), endurance to high concentrations of carbon dioxide, they have no cancer.

One of the main characteristic features of H. glaber is its lifespan – naked diggers live up to thirty years (mice live up to three years on average), and these rodents do not age. Until the end of their days, naked diggers retain high physical activity, the ability to reproduce and assimilate new information.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru03.07.2012

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