DNA Homeostasis and Senescence: Lessons from the Naked Mole Rat

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jun 2;22(11):6011. doi: 10.3390/ijms22116011.


As we age, our bodies accrue damage in the form of DNA mutations. These mutations lead to the generation of sub-optimal proteins, resulting in inadequate cellular homeostasis and senescence. The build-up of senescent cells negatively affects the local cellular micro-environment and drives ageing associated disease, including neurodegeneration. Therefore, limiting the accumulation of DNA damage is essential for healthy neuronal populations. The naked mole rats (NMR) are from eastern Africa and can live for over three decades in chronically hypoxic environments. Despite their long lifespan, NMRs show little to no biological decline, neurodegeneration, or senescence. Here, we discuss molecular pathways and adaptations that NMRs employ to maintain genome integrity and combat the physiological and pathological decline in organismal function.

Keywords: DNA damage; DNA repair; ageing; naked mole rat; neurodegeneration; oxidative stress; reactive oxygen species; senescence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics*
  • Aging / genetics
  • Animals
  • Cellular Senescence / genetics*
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA Damage / genetics*
  • Homeostasis
  • Mole Rats / genetics
  • Oxidative Stress / genetics*
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology


  • DNA