Medical Research

University of California, San Francisco

Diana Laird, Andrew Brack, Saul Villeda
San Francisco, CA
December 2018

Expansion of the aging population is creating major health and socio-economic challenges.  The nascent field of gerontology aspires to develop therapies to extend the human health span and mitigate chronic diseases of aging.  However, this goal is stymied by the sparsity of appropriate model organisms and by a lack of insight into mechanisms by which the more than 80 organs in the body regulate aging.  A team at the University of California, San Francisco proposes to devise a unique, new, tractable and generalizable model for interrogating the role of individual organs in determining the rate of aging using interspecies chimeras between the mouse and the naked mole rat (NMR). NMRs live >9-fold longer than laboratory mice, and the female reproductive lifespan is an astonishing 20-30 times longer.  The team will consider the specific role of the ovary in regulating aging, and its potential as a fountain of youth.  The aims of this project are to understand how the NMR ovary functions 30-fold longer than that of the mouse and to test the capacity of the ovary to prolong youth across the entire organism in chimeric mice with ovarian tissue from NMRs.  The investigators will introduce novel and powerful means to reveal and study integrated mechanisms of aging across all tissues and organs, with special emphasis on skeletal muscle and brain, and to evaluate the potential of NMR ovaries to decelerate or reverse aging.

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