The naked mole-rat: a new long-living model for human aging research

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2005 Nov;60(11):1369-77. doi: 10.1093/gerona/60.11.1369.


Tremendous variation in maximum life span among species overshadows modest increases in longevity resulting from experimental manipulation. Few aging studies focus on long-lived mammals even though these species may expose mechanisms involved in resisting aging. Naked mole-rats (NMRs approximately 35 grams) are the longest-living (>28.3 years) rodents known. This review describes their biology and potential use in aging research. Lifestyle features concur with most evolutionary theories with the exception of the disposable soma theory. Indeed, maximum life span is similar in breeders and nonbreeders, and these highly fecund animals reproduce until they die. Shared characteristics with calorie-restricted, methionine-restricted, and dwarf mice models of extended longevity include reduced body temperature; reduced thyroid, and blood glucose concentrations; and low glycated hemoglobin; in addition to reduced incidence of cancer. Young naked mole-rats surprisingly have high levels of accrued oxidative damage. With their similar longevity quotient to humans, these rodents may provide a novel opportunity to examine mechanisms modulating aging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Life Expectancy*
  • Models, Animal*
  • Mole Rats*
  • Research