Center for Exceptional Longevity Studies

West Lafayette, IN, United States

Center for Exceptional Longevity Studies

West Lafayette, IN, United States
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Kengeri S.S.,Center for Exceptional Longevity Studies | Maras A.H.,Center for Exceptional Longevity Studies | Suckow C.L.,Center for Exceptional Longevity Studies | Chiang E.C.,Center for Exceptional Longevity Studies | And 3 more authors.
Age | Year: 2013

To better understand the potential trade-off between female reproductive investment and longevity in an emerging model of human healthspan, we studied pet dogs to determine whether intensity of reproduction (total number of offspring) encumbered the likelihood of exceptional longevity. This hypothesis was tested by collecting and analyzing lifetime medical histories, including complete reproductive histories, for a cohort of canine "centenarians" - exceptionally long-lived Rottweiler dogs that lived more than 30 % longer than the breed's average life expectancy. Reproductive intensity (number of litters, total number of pups) and tempo of reproductive effort (age at first reproduction, mean interbirth interval, age at last reproduction) in 78 exceptionally long-lived female Rottweilers (>13 years old) were compared to a cohort of 97 female Rottweilers that had usual longevity (age at death 8.0-10.75 years). We found no evidence that a mother's physiological investment in offspring was associated with disadvantaged longevity. Instead, similar to some studies in women, our data showed an inverted U-shaped trend, suggesting that moderate investment in reproduction may promote longevity. Late reproductive success, a much-studied surrogate ofmaternal fitness in women, was not a strong predictor of longevity in this canine cohort. Instead, independent of reproductive investment, the duration of lifetime ovary exposure was significantly associated with highly successful aging. Our results from exceptionally long-lived pet dogs provide rationale for further investigative efforts to understand the ovary-sensitive biological factors that promote healthy longevity in women and pet dogs. © American Aging Association 2012.


PubMed | Center for Exceptional Longevity Studies
Type: Journal Article | Journal: ILAR journal | Year: 2011

Researchers are counting on comparative biologists to find alternative animal models of human aging that will foster experimental approaches to study disability-free longevity, not just the addition of years. This article presents one such alternative: the use of pet dogs living in the same environment as people to study the determinants of healthy longevity. There are both theoretical and practical reasons for this research model beyond the well-documented physiologic similarities between dogs and humans. First, a wealth of medical data--based on clinical and biochemical evaluation, medical imaging, and pathology--is available for pet dogs. Second, a vast array of phenotypic domains can be accurately assessed in dogs, ranging from cardiac contractility and glomerular integrity to the ability to climb stairs and interact with people. Moreover, studying pet dogs obviates the purchase and per diem costs typically associated with large animal research. Pet dogs may be particularly well suited for exploring (1) mechanisms of sex differences in longevity; (2) interventions to compress morbidity and enhance healthspan; (3) genomic correlates of successful aging phenotypes and endophenotypes; (4) heterogeneity in resistance to aging-related diseases, such as cancer; and (5) noninvasive biomarkers of particular target organs. Finally, between-breed differences in senescence trajectories and longevity may expand hypotheses of key genetic factors that contribute to sustained organ function and the postponement of disease. Yet the pet dog paradigm in aging research is nascent; tapping into the potential of this model will add to the existing strengths of conventional model systems.

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