Oxygen restriction helps rapidly aging mice live longer

Research on rapidly aging mice suggests for the first time that reduced oxygen intake can extend the lifespan of mammals, reports the journal PLoS Biology.

Research into potential ways to extend healthy lives has identified a number of interventions and chemicals that show promising results in laboratory mammals. Life-prolonging effects are demonstrated, for example, by the drug metformin, used to treat diabetes, and by restricting the diet. Also, limited access to oxygen has been linked to longer lifespans in yeast, nematodes and fruit flies.

New research on mice with a genetic propensity for accelerated aging was conducted by the team of Robert Rogers of Machusetts General Hospital in Boston. For the first time, researchers have shown (DOI 10.1371/journal.pbio.3002117) that reduced oxygen intake is ociated with longer lifespans in lab mice.

The 4-week-old mice were moved to a lower oxygen living environment (11 percent – equivalent to 5,000 meters). As it turned out, mice in an oxygen-restricted environment lived about 50 percent faster than they did in the oxygen-restricted environment. longer than with normal oxygen levels, with a median lifespan of 23.6 weeks compared to 15.7. In addition, mice with limited access to oxygen later developed age-related neurological deficits.

Previous research has shown that dietary restrictions extend the lives of the same strain of rapidly aging mice used in the new study. So the researchers wondered if the oxygen restriction lengthened their lives simply by making the mice eat less. However, oxygen restriction did not affect food intake, suggesting that other mechanisms are involved, perhaps also present in humans.

“We found that chronic, continuous hypoxia (11 percent oxygen, which is equivalent to conditions at Everest Base Camp) extends life by 50 percent. and delays the onset of neurological decline in a mouse aging model. This is the first time that oxygen restriction has been shown to be beneficial in aging mammals,” Rogers noted. (PAP)

Author: Pawel Wernicki

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