The naked mole rat (NMR), Heterocephalus glaber, is the longest-living rodent species, and is extraordinarily resistant to cancer and aging-related diseases. The molecular basis for these unique phenotypic traits of the NMR is under extensive research. However, the role of regulated cell death (RCD) in the longevity and the protection from cancer in the NMR is still largely unknown. RCD is a mechanism restricting the proliferation of damaged or premalignant cells, which counteracts aging and oncotransformation. In this study, DNA damage-induced cell death in NMR fibroblasts was investigated in comparison to RCD in fibroblasts from Mus musculus. The effects of methyl methanesulfonate, 5-fluorouracil, and etoposide in both cell types were examined using contemporary cell death analyses. Skin fibroblasts from Heterocephalus glaber were found to be more resistant to the action of DNA damaging agents compared to fibroblasts from Mus musculus. Strikingly, our results revealed that NMR cells also exhibit a limited apoptotic response and seem to undergo regulated necrosis. Taken together, this study provides new insights into the mechanisms of cell death in NMR expanding our understanding of longevity, and it paves the way towards the development of innovative therapeutic approaches.
Keywords: DNA damage; apoptosis; naked mole rat; necrosis; regulated cell death.