Antioxidants do not explain the disparate longevity between mice and the longest-living rodent, the naked mole-rat

Mech Ageing Dev. 2005 Nov;126(11):1206-12. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2005.06.009.


The maximum lifespan of naked mole-rats (NMRs; Heterocephalus glaber) is greater than that of any other rodent. These hystricognaths survive in captivity >28 years, eight-times longer than similar-sized mice. The present study tested if NMRs possess superior antioxidant defenses compared to mice and if age-related interspecies changes in antioxidants were evident. Activities of Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (Cu/Zn, SOD), Mn SOD, catalase and cellular glutathione peroxidase (cGPx) were measured in livers of physiologically equivalent age-matched NMRs (30, 75 and 130 months) and CB6F1 mice (4, 12 and 18 months). In mice, Mn SOD activity increased with age, while the activity of catalase and cGPx declined. None of the antioxidants changed with age in mole-rats. cGPx activity of NMRs was 70-times lower (p < 0.0001) than in mice, and resembled that of cGPx knock-out animals. NMRs may partially compensate for the lower cGPx when compared to mice, by having moderately higher activities of the other antioxidants. It is nonetheless unlikely that antioxidant defenses are responsible for the eight-fold longevity difference between these two species. Maintenance of constant antioxidant defenses with age in NMRs concurs with previous physiological data, suggesting delayed aging in this species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Free Radical Scavengers / metabolism
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / genetics
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Life Expectancy*
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mole Rats / physiology*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Isoenzymes
  • Catalase
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Superoxide Dismutase