Director: Rochelle Buffenstein, PhD
The Naked Mole-rat Aging Center has established the long-lived naked mole-rat as an exotic long-lived rodent model for healthy aging.
The Center is the only facility in the world that maintains large numbers of young and aged specific pathogen-free naked mole-rats. The center also maintains Damaraland mole-rats, a species the size of a rat for comparative purposes.
Why use the naked mole-rat in aging research?
Naked mole-rats (Heterocephalus glaber), like humans, are an exceptionally long-lived species with a maximum lifespan of 32 years, ~5 times longer than expected on the basis of their body size and an 8-10 times longer lifespan than similar-sized mice.
They also maintain cancer-free good health for at least 75% of their extraordinary longevity and show unchanged levels of enzyme activities, protein degradation pathways and other biochemical traits at ages equivalent to 90-year-old humans. These findings have been recently confirmed by transcriptome analyses. As such, this rodent may be an excellent model for elucidating mechanisms involved in delayed and attenuated aging that may not be evident in studies based on laboratory mice, for mice are notoriously short-lived and therefore likely have poor defenses against the aging process.
Unique advantages of naked mole-rats for aging research.
- Availability: We have the largest colony of known age, helicobacter-free animals world-wide.
- Genetics: Genome has been sequenced and similarities with human and mouse genomes are now determined.
- Size: Mole-rats weigh 20-50g; they are easy to handle.
Dr. Buffenstein's colony of NMRs is not only the largest in the United States, but also contains the longest-lived of these animals, ages reaching older than 32 years.
Attention scientists: Should you have an interest in obtaining NMR tissue for your research project please contact:
James Nelson, Ph.D.