In the last two decades it has become clear that hormones and gene mutations in endocrine signaling pathways can exert major effects on lifespan and related life history traits in worms, flies, mice, and other organisms. While most of this research has focused on insulin/insulin-like growth factor-1 signaling, a peptide hormone pathway, recent work has shown that also lipophilic hormones play an important role in modulating lifespan and other life history traits. Here we review how steroid hormones, a particular group of lipophilic hormones, affect life history traits in the nematode worm (Caenorhabditis elegans) and the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster), with a particular focus on longevity. Interestingly, a comparison suggests that parallel endocrine principles might be at work in worms and flies in these species and that steroid hormones interact with the gonad to affect lifespan.
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