Among several animal groups (eutherian mammals, birds, reptiles), lifespan positively correlates with body mass over several orders of magnitude. Contradicting this pattern are domesticated dogs, with small dog breeds exhibiting significantly longer lifespans than large dog breeds. The underlying mechanisms of differing aging rates across body masses are unclear, but it is generally agreed that metabolism is a significant regulator of the aging process. Herein, we performed a targeted metabolomics analysis on primary fibroblasts isolated from small and large breed young and old dogs. Regardless of size, older dogs exhibited lower glutathione and ATP, consistent with a role for oxidative stress and bioenergetic decline in aging. Furthermore, several size-specific metabolic patterns were observed with aging, including the following: (i) An apparent defect in the lower half of glycolysis in large old dogs at the level of pyruvate kinase. (ii) Increased glutamine anaplerosis into the TCA cycle in large old dogs. (iii) A potential defect in coenzyme A biosynthesis in large old dogs. (iv) Low nucleotide levels in small young dogs that corrected with age. (v) An age-dependent increase in carnitine in small dogs that was absent in large dogs. Overall, these data support the hypothesis that alterations in metabolism may underlie the different lifespans of small vs. large breed dogs, and further work in this area may afford potential therapeutic strategies to improve the lifespan of large dogs.
Keywords: Aging; Canids; Dogs; Metabolism; Mitochondria.