Theoretical paper: exploring overlooked natural mitochondria-rejuvenative intervention: the puzzle of bowhead whales and naked mole rats

Rejuvenation Res. 2007 Dec;10(4):543-60. doi: 10.1089/rej.2007.0546.


There is an imperative need for exploring and implementing mitochondria-rejuvenative interventions that can bridge the current gap toward the step-by step realization of strategies for engineered negligible senescence (SENS) agenda. Recently discovered in mammals, natural mechanism mitoptosis-a selective "suicide" of mutated mitochondria-can facilitate continuous purification of mitochondrial pool in an organism from the most reactive oxygen species (ROS)-producing mitochondria. Mitoptosis, which is considered to be the first stage of ROS-induced apoptosis, underlies follicular atresia (a "quality control" mechanism in female germline cells that eliminates most germinal follicles in female embryos). Mitoptosis can be also activated in adult postmitotic somatic cells by evolutionary conserved phenotypic adaptations to intermittent oxygen restriction (IOR) and synergistically acting intermittent caloric restriction (ICR). IOR and ICR are common in mammals and seem to underlie extraordinary longevity and augmented cancer resistance in bowhead whales (Balena mysticetus) and naked mole rats (Heterocephalus glaber). Furthermore, in mammals IOR can facilitate continuous stromal stem cells-de-pendent tissue repair. A comparative analysis of IOR and ICR mechanisms in both mammals, in conjunction with the experience of decades of biomedical and clinical research on emerging preventative, therapeutic, and rehabilitative modality-the intermittent hypoxic training/therapy (IHT)-indicates that the notable clinical efficiency of IHT is based on the universal adaptational mechanisms that are common in mammals. Further exploration of natural mitochondria-preserving and -rejuvenating strategies can help refinement of IOR- and ICR-based synergistic protocols, having value in clinical human rejuvenation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caloric Restriction
  • Humans
  • Hypercapnia / physiopathology
  • Hypoxia / physiopathology
  • Longevity*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • Mole Rats / physiology*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Neoplasms / veterinary
  • Whales / physiology*