The Vital Role of Pathology in Improving Reproducibility and Translational Relevance of Aging Studies in Rodents

Vet Pathol. 2016 Mar;53(2):244-9. doi: 10.1177/0300985815620629. Epub 2016 Jan 20.

Abstract

Pathology is a discipline of medicine that adds great benefit to aging studies of rodents by integrating in vivo, biochemical, and molecular data. It is not possible to diagnose systemic illness, comorbidities, and proximate causes of death in aging studies without the morphologic context provided by histopathology. To date, many rodent aging studies do not utilize end points supported by systematic necropsy and histopathology, which leaves studies incomplete, contradictory, and difficult to interpret. As in traditional toxicity studies, if the effect of a drug, dietary treatment, or altered gene expression on aging is to be studied, systematic pathology analysis must be included to determine the causes of age-related illness, moribundity, and death. In this Commentary, the authors discuss the factors that should be considered in the design of aging studies in mice, with the inclusion of robust pathology practices modified after those developed by toxicologic and discovery research pathologists. Investigators in the field of aging must consider the use of histopathology in their rodent aging studies in this era of integrative and preclinical geriatric science (geroscience).

Keywords: aging; animal model; cause of death; health span; histopathology; life span; longevity; mouse model; necropsy; pathology; rodent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics
  • Aging / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Cause of Death
  • Cross-Sectional Studies / methods
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Longevity
  • Mice
  • Models, Animal
  • Pathology / economics
  • Pathology / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design / standards