|Abstract or Summary
- Researchers of healthy aging have determined trends between a species’ body mass and its maximal life span (MLSP). Actual MLSPs are then compared to predicted MLSPs and reported as a longevity quotient (LQ). Long-lived mammals, such as humans and naked mole rats (NMR), have LQs ranging from 5.0 to 10.0, meaning they live 5 to 10 times longer than expected. This LQ similarity leads researchers to believe the NMR may be an ideal model organism for human aging research. Among the proposed theories of aging, the oxidative stress theory, which states that cells have a chronic presence of oxidative stress that increases with age, is one of the most widely accepted. Our work delves deeper into this theory as it pertains to the NMR. We observed that NMR fibroblasts (NMRFs) have a much greater resilience to menadione, an oxidative stressor, than mouse fibroblasts (MFs), which, under the oxidative stress theory of aging, may explain why NMR have delayed onsets of aging phenotypes. We then observed that compared to MFs and rat hepatocytes, NMRFs have a greater basal expression of heat-shock protein 70 (HSP70), a primary role player in homeostatic responses to oxidative stress. This greater HSP70 expression may grant the NMRFs a stronger initial defense allowing them to maintain viability at greater levels of oxidative stress. Finally, our work investigated the use of geranylgeranyl acetone (GGA) as an HSP70 inducer to slow the insults from oxidative stress. We were not able to show GGA as an efficient HSP70 inducer. Ultimately, our work has discovered some key aspects of the naked mole rat, however, further investigation is needed to determine if naked mole rats may serve as the ideal model species for human healthy aging research.