Hormones, reproduction and disease in the longest-lived rodent: the naked mole rat
- Manlio Vinciguerra
Affiliation not present. Manlio.Vinciguerra@embl.it
Aging is an inescapable human condition, made of hormonal, physical, and behavioral changes. Age-related illnesses and decline result from the interactions between genes and the environment. Life expectancy dramatically increased in the last century with the improvement in health cares and quality of life in the Western World. Despite these advances, the last 20 years of our life are often accompanied by an increased incidence of hormonalrelated diseases, such as cancer, metabolic, cardiovascular and neurological dysturbances. Aging research recently uncovered many of the molecular pathways involved in nutrients and hormonal regulation, and also involved in organism life span using simple laboratory animal model. However this knowledge did not translate in an ameliorated aging and cure for hormonal diseases in humans. A breakthrough in aging research came from recent studies on the longest-lived rodent [the naked mole rat (NMR)]. NMR are able to reach ~30 years of age in good health. Because of their longevity and sustained health, NMR are a research model for successful aging. The most striking feature of NMR is perhaps their eusociality. Unique among mammals (eusociality is observed in insects such as bees and ants), NMR are organized in highly cooperative colonies. The aim of this review is to summarize our knowledge on hormonal and reproductive aspects in NMR. Furthermore, their resistance to pathological insults will be discussed.