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Keywords:

  • animal model;
  • aging biomarker;
  • age-dependent mortality;
  • vertebrate aging

Summary

Temperature variations are known to modulate aging and life-history traits in poikilotherms as different as worms, flies and fish. In invertebrates, temperature affects lifespan by modulating the slope of age-dependent acceleration in death rate, which is thought to reflect the rate of age-related damage accumulation. Here, we studied the effects of temperature on aging kinetics, aging-related behavioural deficits, and age-associated histological markers of senescence in the short-lived fish Nothobranchius furzeri. This species shows a maximum captive lifespan of only 3 months, which is tied with acceleration in growth and expression of aging biomarkers. These biological peculiarities make it a very convenient animal model for testing the effects of experimental manipulations on life-history traits in vertebrates. Here, we show that (i) lowering temperature from 25 °C to 22 °C increases both median and maximum lifespan; (ii) life extension is due to reduction in the slope of the age-dependent acceleration in death rate; (iii) lowering temperature from 25 °C to 22 °C retards the onset of age-related locomotor and learning deficits; and (iv) lowering temperature from 25 °C to 22 °C reduces the accumulation of the age-related marker lipofuscin. We conclude that lowering water temperature is a simple experimental manipulation which retards the rate of age-related damage accumulation in this short-lived species.