Saturday, 12 May 2012

Long-Lived Rodents Have High Levels of Brain-Protecting Factor

ScienceDaily (May 10, 2012) — The typical naked mole rat lives 25 to 30 years, during which it shows little decline in activity, bone health, reproductive capacity and cognitive ability. What is the secret to this East African rodent's long, healthy life?



Naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber). (Credit: © belizar / Fotolia)
What an attractive fellow


Scientists from the United States and Israel found a clue. From infancy to old age, naked mole rats are blessed with large amounts of a protein essential for normal brain function.
"Naked mole rats have the highest level of a growth factor called NRG-1 in the cerebellum. Its levels are sustained throughout their life, from development through adulthood," said Yael Edrey, doctoral student at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio's Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies.
Comparison across 7 species
The Barshop Institute has the largest colony of naked mole rats in the U.S. -- 2,000 rodents scampering around a network of tubes and cages in humid conditions that mimic their natural underground habitat. Edrey is the lead author of research that compared lifelong NRG-1 levels across seven species of rodents, from mice and guinea pigs to blind mole rats and Damaraland mole rats.

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