The short-lived annual fish Nothobranchius furzeri shows a typical teleost aging process reinforced by high incidence of age-dependent neoplasias

Exp Gerontol. 2011 Apr;46(4):249-56. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2010.10.011. Epub 2010 Nov 3.


The annual fish Nothobranchius furzeri is the shortest-lived vertebrate which can be cultured in captivity. Here, we performed a histopathological analysis of age-related lesions in this species. Post-mortem analysis revealed lesions in liver (~90%), kidney (~75%), heart (~70%) and gonads (~40%) which are similar to those previously described in the small teleost Poecilia reticulata. In addition, a high incidence of neoplasias was observed in liver (~35%) and kidney (~25%). Different laboratory strains of N. furzeri show large genetic differences in longevity. Cross-sectional analysis revealed a clear age-dependent increase in the incidence of liver neoplasias which was accelerated in a short-lived strain. Cross-sectional analysis of gonads revealed sex-specific differences in the occurrence of lesions, with males being more severely affected than females. In conclusion, our analysis demonstrates that short life span in N. furzeri is a consequence of a typical teleost aging process which determines systemic failure of homeostasis functions rather than of a single organ or apparatus. Unlike other teleosts, however, this scenario is reinforced by high incidence of age-dependent neoplasias, making this species a promising model to analyze the molecular pathways of age-dependent spontaneous tumorigenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism
  • Aging / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Fish Diseases / metabolism
  • Fish Diseases / pathology*
  • Gonads / pathology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Killifishes* / growth & development
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / veterinary
  • Longevity
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / veterinary*