Experimentally Induced Aging and Disease in Animals

The use of animals, isolated organs, tissues, and cells, has led, and continues to lead, to a better understanding of the aging process. This use is regulated by specific rules governing the choice of the most appropriate model to answer each specific question (Chapter 1). Within this context, cause/effect relationships between disease and aging have been variously explored, depending on the hypotheses entertained by different investigators. Most often, intentionally induced disease has been used to accelerate the onset and course of aging processes to test therapeutic measures that might prevent or slow disease and aging. Some attempts have focused on "segmental" aging, that is, induction of aging in a selected organ, tissue, or cell type to mimic specific aspects of aging. Examples of these experimental approaches include genetic manipulation, increased free radical accumulation, inoculation of slow viruses, interference with nervous and endocrine functions, induction of wear-and-tear and stress, administration of mutagens/ carcinogens, and others. Principles and methodology for the choice of animal models as "biomarkers" of aging and for the in vivo and/or in vitro induction of accelerated or delayed aging and aging-associated disease are reviewed in specialized textbooks (90-92). A few examples are briefly indicated below.

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