Mice with targeted deletion of the growth hormone receptor (GHRKO mice) are GH resistant, small, obese, hypoinsulinemic, highly insulin sensitive and remarkably long-lived. To elucidate the unexpected coexistence of adiposity with improved insulin sensitivity and extended longevity, we examined effects of surgical removal of visceral (epididymal and perinephric) fat on metabolic traits related to insulin signaling and longevity. Comparison of results obtained in GHRKO mice and in normal animals from the same strain revealed disparate effects of visceral fat removal (VFR) on insulin and glucose tolerance, adiponectin levels, accumulation of ectopic fat, phosphorylation of insulin signaling intermediates, body temperature and respiratory quotient (RQ). Overall, VFR produced the expected improvements in insulin sensitivity and reduced body temperature and RQ in normal mice and had opposite effects in GHRKO mice. Some of the examined parameters were altered by VFR in opposite directions in GHRKO and normal mice, others were affected in only one genotype or exhibited significant genotype × treatment interactions. Functional differences between visceral fat of GHRKO and normal mice were confirmed by measurements of adipokine secretion, lipolysis and expression of genes related to fat metabolism. We conclude that in the absence of GH signaling the secretory activity of visceral fat is profoundly altered and unexpectedly promotes enhanced insulin sensitivity. The apparent beneficial effects of visceral fat in GHRKO mice may also explain why reducing adiposity by calorie restriction fails to improve insulin signaling or further extend longevity in these animals.
GHRKO; insulin; adipose tissue
The development of metabolic dysfunctions like diabetes and insulin resistance in mammals is regulated by a myriad of factors. Oxidative stress seems to play a central role in this process as recent evidence shows a general increase in oxidative damage and a decrease in oxidative defense associated with several metabolic diseases. These changes in oxidative stress can be directly correlated with increased fat accumulation, obesity and consumption of high calorie/high fat diets. Modulation of oxidant protection through either genetic mutation or treatment with antioxidants can significantly alter oxidative stress resistance and accumulation of oxidative damage in laboratory rodents. Antioxidant mutant mice have previously been utilized to examine the role of oxidative stress in other disease models, but have been relatively unexplored as models to study the regulation of glucose metabolism. In this review, we will discuss the evidence for oxidative stress as a primary mechanism linking obesity and metabolic disorders and whether alteration of antioxidant status in laboratory rodents can significantly alter the development of insulin resistance or diabetes.
oxidative stress; diabetes; obesity; adipose; insulin resistance
Because rapamycin, an inhibitor of the nutrient sensor mammalian target of rapamycin, and dietary restriction both increase life span of mice, it has been hypothesized that they act through similar mechanisms. To test this hypothesis, we compared various biological parameters in dietary restriction mice (40% food restriction) and mice fed rapamycin (14 ppm). Both treatments led to a significant reduction in mammalian target of rapamycin signaling and a corresponding increase in autophagy. However, we observed striking differences in fat mass, insulin sensitivity, and expression of cell cycle and sirtuin genes in mice fed rapamycin compared with dietary restriction. Thus, although both treatments lead to significant downregulation of mammalian target of rapamycin signaling, these two manipulations have quite different effects on other physiological functions suggesting that they might increase life span through a common pathway as well as pathways that are altered differently by dietary restriction and rapamycin.
Rapamycin; Dietary restriction; mTOR; Autophagy; Gene expression
Rapamycin, an inhibitor of mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), extends the lifespans of yeast, flies, and mice. Calorie restriction, which increases lifespan and insulin sensitivity, is proposed to function by inhibition of mTORC1, yet paradoxically, chronic administration of rapamycin substantially impairs glucose tolerance and insulin action. We demonstrate that rapamycin disrupted a second mTOR complex, mTORC2, in vivo and that mTORC2 was required for the insulin-mediated suppression of hepatic gluconeogenesis. Further, decreased mTORC1 signaling was sufficient to extend lifespan independently from changes in glucose homeostasis, as female mice heterozygous for both mTOR and mLST8 exhibited decreased mTORC1 activity and extended lifespan, but had normal glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. Thus, mTORC2 disruption is an important mediator of the effects of rapamycin in vivo.
Aging is associated with reduced ability to maintain normal glucose homeostasis. It has been suggested that an age-associated increase in chronic pro-inflammatory state could drive this reduction in glucoregulatory function. Thioredoxins (Trx) are oxido-reductase enzymes that play an important role in the regulation of oxidative stress and inflammation. In this study, we tested whether overexpression of Trx1 in mice [Tg(TRX1)+/0] could protect from glucose metabolism dysfunction caused by high fat diet feeding. Body weight and fat mass gains with high fat feeding were similar in Tg(TRX1)+/0 and wild-type mice; however, high fat diet induced glucose intolerance was reduced in Tg(TRX1)+/0 mice relative to wild-type mice. In addition, expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-α was reduced in adipose tissue of Tg(TRX1)+/0 mice compared to wild-type mice. These findings suggest that activation of thioredoxins may be a potential therapeutic target for maintenance of glucose metabolism with obesity or aging.
oxidative stress; diabetes; obesity; glucose homeostasis; aging
The oxidative stress theory of aging predicts that manipulations that alter oxidative stress/damage will alter aging. The gold standard for determining whether aging is altered is lifespan, i.e., does altering oxidative stress/damage change lifespan? Mice with genetic manipulations in the antioxidant defense system designed to directly address this prediction have, with few exceptions, shown no change in lifespan. However, when these transgenic/knockout mice are tested using models that develop various types of age-related pathology, they show alterations in progression and/or severity of pathology as predicted by the oxidative stress theory; increased oxidative stress accelerates pathology and reduced oxidative stress retards pathology. These contradictory observations might mean a) oxidative stress plays a very limited, if any, role in aging but a major role in healthspan; and/or b) the role that oxidative stress plays in aging depends on environment. In environments with minimal stress, as expected under optimal husbandry, oxidative damage plays little role in aging. However, under chronic stress, including pathological phenotypes that diminish optimal health, oxidative stress/damage plays a major role in aging. Under these conditions, enhanced antioxidant defenses exert an “anti-aging” action, leading to changes in lifespan, age-related pathology, and physiological function as predicted by the oxidative stress theory of aging.
oxidative stress; aging; disease; lifespan; healthspan
Genetic manipulations of Mn superoxide dismutase (MnSOD), SOD2 expression have demonstrated that altering the level of MnSOD activity is critical for cellular function and life span in invertebrates. In mammals, Sod2 homozygous knockout mice die shortly after birth, and alterations of MnSOD levels are correlated with changes in oxidative damage and in the generation of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species. In this study, we directly tested the effects of overexpressing MnSOD in young (4–6 months) and old (26–28 months) mice on mitochondrial function, levels of oxidative damage or stress, life span, and end-of-life pathology. Our data show that an approximately twofold overexpression of MnSOD throughout life in mice resulted in decreased lipid peroxidation, increased resistance against paraquat-induced oxidative stress, and decreased age-related decline in mitochondrial ATP production. However, this change in MnSOD expression did not alter either life span or age-related pathology.
Oxidative damage; Mn superoxide dismutase; Pathology; Aging
Previous studies have shown that dermal fibroblast cell lines derived from young adult mice of the long-lived Snell dwarf (dw/dw), Ames dwarf (df/df) and growth hormone receptor knockout (GHR-KO) mouse stocks are resistant, in vitro, to the cytotoxic effects of hydrogen peroxide, cadmium, ultraviolet light, paraquat, and heat. Here we show that, in contrast, fibroblasts from mice on low-calorie (CR) or low methionine (Meth-R) diets are not stress resistant in culture, despite the longevity induced by both dietary regimes. A second approach, involving induction of liver cell death in live animals using acetaminophen (APAP), documented hepatotoxin resistance in the CR and Meth-R mice, but dw/dw and GHR-KO mutant mice were not resistant to this agent, and were in fact more susceptible than littermate controls to the toxic effects of APAP. These data thus suggest that while resistance to stress is a common characteristic of experimental life span extension in mice, the cell types showing resistance may differ among the various models of delayed or decelerated aging.
Stress resistance; Caloric restriction; Methionine restriction; Snell dwarf; Growth hormone receptor knockout
Dermal fibroblasts from long-lived Snell dwarf mice can withstand a variety of oxidative and non-oxidative stressors compared to normal littermate controls. Here, we report differences in the levels and activities of intracellular antioxidant and DNA repair enzymes between normal and Snell dwarf mice fibroblasts cultured under a variety of conditions, including: 3% and 20% ambient O2; the presence and absence of serum; and the addition of an exogenous oxidative stress. The only significant difference between normal and dwarf cells cultured in complete medium, at 20% O2, was an approximately 40% elevation of glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity in the mutant cells. Serum deprivation elicited increases in GPx in both genotypes, but these activities remained higher in dwarf mouse cells. Dwarf mouse cells deprived of serum and challenged with exposure to paraquat or hydrogen peroxide showed a generally greater upregulation of catalase and DNA base excision repair enzymes. As these toxins can interact with mitochondria to increase mitochondrial ROS production, we explored whether there were differences in mitochondrial metabolism between normal and dwarf mouse cells. However, neither mitochondrial content nor the apparent mitochondrial membrane potential differed between genotypes. Overall, the results suggest that superior hydrogen peroxide metabolism and a marginally greater DNA base excision repair capacity contribute to the stress resistance phenotype of Snell dwarf mouse fibroblasts.
intracellular antioxidant enzymes; base excision repair (BER); fibroblasts; Snell dwarf mice; stress resistance; lifespan; serum deprivation; paraquat; hydrogen peroxide
Fibroblast cell lines were developed from skin biopsies of eight species of wild-trapped rodents, one species of bat, and a group of genetically heterogeneous laboratory mice. Each cell line was tested in vitro for their resistance to six varieties of lethal stress, as well as for resistance to the nonlethal metabolic effects of the mitochondrial inhibitor rotenone and of culture at very low glucose levels. Standard linear regression of species-specific lifespan against each species mean stress resistance showed that longevity was associated with resistance to death induced by cadmium and hydrogen peroxide, as well as with resistance to rotenone inhibition. A multilevel regression method supported these associations, and suggested a similar association for resistance to heat stress. Regressions for resistance to cadmium, peroxide, heat, and rotenone remained significant after various statistical adjustments for body weight. In contrast, cells from longer-lived species did not show significantly greater resistance to ultraviolet light, paraquat, or the DNA alkylating agent methylmethanesulfonate. There was a strong correlation between species longevity and resistance to the metabolic effects of low-glucose medium among the rodent cell lines, but this test did not distinguish mice and rats from the much longer-lived little brown bat. These results are consistent with the idea that evolution of long-lived species may require development of cellular resistance to several forms of lethal injury, and provide justification for evaluation of similar properties in a much wider range of mammals and bird species.
evolution; fibroblast; longevity; oxidation; stress
Fibroblasts isolated from long-lived hypopituitary dwarf mice are resistant to many cell stresses, including UV light and MMS, which induce cell death by producing DNA damage. Here we report that cells from Snell dwarf mice recover more rapidly than controls from the inhibition of RNA synthesis induced by UV damage. Recovery of mRNA synthesis in particular is more rapid in dwarf cells, suggesting enhanced repair of the actively transcribing genes in dwarf-derived cells. At early timepoints, there was no difference in the repair of CPD or 6-4PP in the whole genome, nor was there any significant difference in the repair of UV lesions in specific genes. However, at later time points we found that more lesions had been removed from the genome of dwarf-derived cells. We have also found that cells from dwarf mice express higher levels of the nucleotide excision repair proteins XPC and CSA, suggesting a causal link to enhanced DNA repair. Overall, these data suggest a mechanism for the UV resistance of Snell dwarf-derived fibroblasts that could contribute to the delay of aging and neoplasia in these mice.
longevity; nucleotide excision repair; Snell dwarf; stress resistance; UV light
Fibroblasts from long-lived mutant mice are resistant to many forms of lethal injury as well as to the metabolic effects of rotenone and low-glucose media. Here we evaluated fibroblasts from young adult naked mole-rats (NMR; Heterocephalus glaber), a rodent species in which maximal longevity exceeds 28 years. Compared to mouse cells NMR cells were resistant to cadmium, MMS, paraquat, heat, and low glucose media, consistent with the idea that cellular resistance to stress may contribute to disease resistance and longevity. Surprisingly, NMR cells were more sensitive than mouse cells to H2O2, UV light, and rotenone. NMR cells, like cells from Snell dwarf mice, were more sensitive to tunicamycin and thapsigargin, which interfere with the function of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER stress). The sensitivity of both Snell dwarf and NMR cells to ER stress suggests that alterations in the unfolded protein response might modulate cell survival and aging rate.
longevity; comparative biology; naked mole-rat; stress resistance; oxidation; endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress