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1.  The Naked Mole-Rat Response to Oxidative Stress: Just Deal with It 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2013;19(12):1388-1399.
Significance: The oxidative stress theory of aging has been the most widely accepted theory of aging providing insights into why we age and die for over 50 years, despite mounting evidence from a multitude of species indicating that there is no direct relationship between reactive oxygen species (ROS) and longevity. Here we explore how different species, including the longest lived rodent, the naked mole-rat, have defied the most predominant aging theory. Recent Advances: In the case of extremely long-lived naked mole-rat, levels of ROS production are found to be similar to mice, antioxidant defenses unexceptional, and even under constitutive conditions, naked mole-rats combine a pro-oxidant intracellular milieu with high, steady state levels of oxidative damage. Clearly, naked mole-rats can tolerate this level of oxidative stress and must have mechanisms in place to prevent its translation into potentially lethal diseases. Critical Issues: In addition to the naked mole-rat, other species from across the phylogenetic spectrum and even certain mouse strains do not support this theory. Moreover, overexpressing or knocking down antioxidant levels alters levels of oxidative damage and even cancer incidence, but does not modulate lifespan. Future Directions: Perhaps, it is not oxidative stress that modulates healthspan and longevity, but other cytoprotective mechanisms that allow animals to deal with high levels of oxidative damage and stress, and nevertheless live long, relatively healthy lifespans. Studying these mechanisms in uniquely long-lived species, like the naked mole-rat, may help us tease out the key contributors to aging and longevity. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 19, 1388–1399.
PMCID: PMC3791056  PMID: 23025341
2.  Walking the Oxidative Stress Tightrope: A Perspective from the Naked Mole-Rat, the Longest-Living Rodent 
Current pharmaceutical design  2011;17(22):2290-2307.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS), by-products of aerobic metabolism, cause oxidative damage to cells and tissue and not surprisingly many theories have arisen to link ROS-induced oxidative stress to aging and health. While studies clearly link ROS to a plethora of divergent diseases, their role in aging is still debatable. Genetic knock-down manipulations of antioxidants alter the levels of accrued oxidative damage, however, the resultant effect of increased oxidative stress on lifespan are equivocal. Similarly the impact of elevating antioxidant levels through transgenic manipulations yield inconsistent effects on longevity. Furthermore, comparative data from a wide range of endotherms with disparate longevity remain inconclusive. Many long-living species such as birds, bats and mole-rats exhibit high-levels of oxidative damage, evident already at young ages. Clearly, neither the amount of ROS per se nor the sensitivity in neutralizing ROS are as important as whether or not the accrued oxidative stress leads to oxidative-damage-linked age-associated diseases. In this review we examine the literature on ROS, its relation to disease and the lessons gleaned from a comparative approach based upon species with widely divergent responses. We specifically focus on the longest lived rodent, the naked mole-rat, which maintains good health and provides novel insights into the paradox of maintaining both an extended healthspan and lifespan despite high oxidative stress from a young age.
PMCID: PMC3980719  PMID: 21736541
Comparative biology of aging; mitochondria; naked mole-rat; oxidative stress; proteasome; autophagy; reactive oxygen species
3.  Nrf2, a Guardian of Healthspan and Gatekeeper of Species Longevity 
Although aging is a ubiquitous process that prevails in all organisms, the mechanisms governing both the rate of decline in functionality and the age of onset remain elusive. A profound constitutively upregulated cytoprotective response is commonly observed in naturally long-lived species and experimental models of extensions to lifespan (e.g., genetically-altered and/or experimentally manipulated organisms), as indicated by enhanced resistance to stress and upregulated downstream components of the cytoprotective nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2)-signaling pathway. The transcription factor Nrf2 is constitutively expressed in all tissues, although levels may vary among organs, with the key detoxification organs (kidney and liver) exhibiting highest levels. Nrf2 may be further induced by cellular stressors including endogenous reactive-oxygen species or exogenous electrophiles. The Nrf2-signaling pathway mediates multiple avenues of cytoprotection by activating the transcription of more than 200 genes that are crucial in the metabolism of drugs and toxins, protection against oxidative stress and inflammation, as well as playing an integral role in stability of proteins and in the removal of damaged proteins via proteasomal degradation or autophagy. Nrf2 interacts with other important cell regulators such as tumor suppressor protein 53 (p53) and nuclear factor-kappa beta (NF-κB) and through their combined interactions is the guardian of healthspan, protecting against many age-related diseases including cancer and neurodegeneration. We hypothesize that this signaling pathway plays a critical role in the determination of species longevity and that this pathway may indeed be the master regulator of the aging process.
PMCID: PMC2965188  PMID: 21031035
4.  Resveratrol delays age-related deterioration and mimics transcriptional aspects of dietary restriction without extending lifespan 
Cell metabolism  2008;8(2):157-168.
A small molecule that safely mimics the ability of dietary restriction (DR) to delay age-related diseases in laboratory animals is greatly sought after. We and others have shown that resveratrol mimics effects of DR in lower organisms. In mice, we find that resveratrol induces gene expression patterns in multiple tissues that parallel those induced by DR and every-other-day feeding. Moreover, resveratrol-fed elderly mice show a marked reduction in signs of aging including reduced albuminuria, decreased inflammation and apoptosis in the vascular endothelium, increased aortic elasticity, greater motor coordination, reduced cataract formation, and preserved bone mineral density. However, mice fed a standard diet did not live longer when treated with resveratrol beginning at 12 months of age. Our findings indicate that resveratrol treatment has a range of beneficial effects in mice but does not increase the longevity of ad libitum-fed animals when started mid-life.
PMCID: PMC2538685  PMID: 18599363

Results 1-4 (4)