N Mouse Models

A crucial test for the proposed roles of cellular senescence and apoptosis in aging and age-related disease is to manipulate these processes in intact organisms. At present, this approach is practical only in mice. Mice are now fairly easy to manipulate genetically, and their small size and relatively short life span make them the mammalian model of choice for aging studies. There is, however, always the caveat that mice are not humans, and there are significant differences between mouse and human cells in processes that are likely important in aging (e.g., telomere biology and oxidative stress resistance) (8,16). With that caveat in mind, what do mouse models tell us about the roles of cellular senescence and cell death in aging? There are numerous mouse models of accelerated or retarded aging, and it is beyond the scope of this chapter to review them all. Therefore the discussion below focuses on a sampling of informative models, particularly those that elucidate the relationship between cell fate and organismal aging and life span. Two broad categories of mouse models for studying aging are discussed here: those that accelerate aging and those that retard aging.

How to Stay Young

How to Stay Young

For centuries, ever since the legendary Ponce de Leon went searching for the elusive Fountain of Youth, people have been looking for ways to slow down the aging process. Medical science has made great strides in keeping people alive longer by preventing and curing disease, and helping people to live healthier lives. Average life expectancy keeps increasing, and most of us can look forward to the chance to live much longer lives than our ancestors.

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