In addition to their extended lifespans, slow-aging growth hormone receptor/binding protein gene-disrupted (knockout) (GHR-KO) mice are hypoinsulinemic and highly sensitive to the action of insulin. It has been proposed that this insulin sensitivity is important for their longevity and increased healthspan. We tested whether this insulin sensitivity of the GHR-KO mouse is necessary for its retarded aging by abrogating that sensitivity with a transgenic alteration that improves development and secretory function of pancreatic β-cells by expressing Igf-1 under the rat insulin promoter 1 (RIP::IGF-1). The RIP::IGF-1 transgene increased circulating insulin content in GHR-KO mice, and thusly fully normalized their insulin sensitivity, without affecting the proliferation of any non-β-cell cell types. Multiple (nonsurvivorship) longevity-associated physiological and endocrinological characteristics of these mice (namely beneficial blood glucose regulatory control, altered metabolism, and preservation of memory capabilities) were partially or completely normalized, thus supporting the causal role of insulin sensitivity for the decelerated senescence of GHR-KO mice. We conclude that a delayed onset and/or decreased pace of aging can be hormonally regulated.
Keywords: (neuro)endocrinology of senescence; endocrinology and metabolism; growth hormone hormonal signaling; insulin sensitivity; longevity regulation.
© 2014 The Authors. Aging Cell published by the Anatomical Society and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.